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SAMUEL M. COLCORD, . . . Boston, Mass. 


1st. "William Procter, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa. 

2d. Joseph Roberts, Baltimore, Md. 

3d. Edwin O. Gale, Chicago, 111. 

Asiiel Boyden, Boston, Mass. 


Charles Bullock, Philadelphia, Pa. 

corresponding secretary. 
William Hegeman, New York City. 

executive committee. 
Charles T. Carney, Boston, Chairman. 

Charles A. Tufts, Dover, N. H. 

S. S. Garriguks, Philadelpliia, Pa. 

George W. Berrian, Jr., New York City. 

Charles Bullock, Philadelphia, Pa. 

committee on the progress of pharmacy. 
Edward Parrish, Philadelphia, Pa., Chairman. 

Alpheus P. Sharp, Baltimore, Md. 

Eugene L. Massut, St. Louis, Mo. 

James N. Callan, Washington, D. C. 

William Hegeman, New York City. 




Daniel B. Smith I'liiladelphia, 1852-53 

William A Buewer, Boston, 18S3-54 

William B. Chapman, Cincinnati, 1854-55 

John Meakim New York, 1855-56 

George W. Andrews, Baltimore, i85*i-57 

Charles Ellis, I'liiladelphia, 1857-58 

John L. Kidwell, Georgetown, 185''-59 

Samcel W. Colcord, Boston, 1859-li0 


Georoe W. Andrews, Baltimore, 1852-53 

George D. Coggeshall, New York, 18 3-54 

Henry T. Cummings, I'ortland, 1854-55 

C. B. Guthrie, Mempliis 1855-56 

John L. Kidwell, Wiishington, D. C, 185(>-57 

James Cooke Fredericksburg, 1857-58 

Edward K. Squibb, Brooklyn, N. Y., 1858-59 

William rRocTEii, Jr., I'liiladelphia, 1859-60 


Samuel M. Colcord, Boston, 1852-53 

Alexander Duval, Kiclinioiid, 1853-54 

John Mkakim, ... New York, 1854-55 

Charles Ellis I'liiladelphia, 1855-56 

Frederick Steauns, Detroit, 1856-57 

S. P. I'KCK, Bennington, Vt., 1857-58 

James O'Gallagher, St. Louis 18.58-59 

Joseph Koberts, Baltimore, I85'J-60 


C. Augustus Smith, Cincinnati, lS5?-63 

C. B. Guthrie, Memphis, 1853-54 

Joseph Laiuley, Kiclimond 1854-55 

i£. F. Fish, Wateibiiry, Ct., 18.55-56 

H. T. Kiersteu New Y'ork, 1856-57 

A. E. HlcHARDS, l'l:ir|iieniine, La 1857-58 

K. Battey, Koiue, Ga., 1858-59 

Edwin O- Gale, Chicago, 1859-60 


Geo. D. Coggephall, 1852-53 I W.J. M. Gordon, 1855-58 

Edward Parrisu, 1853 51 Charles Bullock, 1859-60 

Edw. S. Wayne, 1854-55 | 


Wm. rRocTER, Jr, 1852-53 I Edw. Parrisu 1857-58 

Wm. B. Chapman, .., 18.')3-54 A. mij rose Smith, 1858-59 

Wm. I'ROCTEK, Jr., 1854-57 | William Hkoeman, 1859-60 


Alfred B. Taylor, 1852-54 

S. M. Colcord, 1854-56 

J. S- AspiNWALL, 1856-57 

S. M. Colcord, 1857-69 

ASIIEL BoYDKN, 1859-60 




Charles T. Carney, Chairman, Boston, Mass. 

Charles A. Tufts, Dover, N. H. 

S. S. Garrigues, Philadelphia, Pa. 

George W. Berrian, Jr., New York City. 

Charles Bullock, Philadelphia, Pa. 


Edward Parrish, Chairman, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Alpheus P. Sharp, Baltimore, Md. 

Eugene L. Massot, St. Louis, Mo. 

James N. Callan, Washington, D. C. 

William Hegeman, New York City. 


Charles T. Carney, Chairman, Boston, Mass. 

Israel J. Grahame, Baltimore, Md. 

Charles Bullock, Philadelphia, Pa. 

A. P. Sharp, Baltimore, Md. 

E. R. Squibb, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

E. S. Wayne, Cincinnati, O. 


Edward H. Rollins, Chairman, Concord, N. H. 

James N. Callan, Washington, D. C. 

AVilliam A. Brewer, Boston, Mass. 

John L. Kiilwell, Washington, D. C. 

Henry T. Kiersted, New York City. 

F. S. Walsh, Washington, D. C. 

Edward R. Squibb, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

R. H. Stabler, Alexandria, Ya. 

For List of Subjects referred for Special Reports at the next meeting in New York, 
September, 1860, see pages 3S — 43. 


Minutes of the Eighth Annual Meeting, 1 

Report of Executive Committee, . .... . . .» .-. .^ .... 7 

Address of Dr. Robert Battey, Acting President, on retiring, 12 

Address of S. M. Colcord, President for 1859 an(^ 18G0, 14 

Report of Committee to co-operate wkh Agricultural Department, .... 26 

Subjects of Investigation, the ensuing jear, . .^ 38 


On the Progress of Pharmacy, . 49 

On Weights and Measures, ... - . 115 

On the Revision of the Pharmacopoeia, . ... ...... , 217 

On Home Adulterations, 245 


Formulje for Fluid Extracts. By William Procter, Jr., Philadelphia, . . 264 

Wine of Ipecac. By Joseph Roberts, Baltimore, . 281 

Mustard. By Edward Parrish, Philadelphia, 283 

The Rosin Weed. By E. O. Gale, Chicago, . ., 285 

Syrup Iodide of Iron. By AV. J. M. Gordon, Cincinnati, Ohio, 289 

History of Pharmacy, and its Progress as a Science. By James O'Gal- 

lagher, St. Louis, Mo., 290 

Remarks on Polygalic Acid. By William Procter, Jr., Philadelphia, . . 297 

Chinese Sugar Cane. By Robert Battey, M. D., Augusta, Ga., 300 

On the Action of Oxide of Silver with Organic Matter. By Ambrose 

Smith, Philadelphia, . . 308 

The Deterioration of the Druggist's Stock and Best Means of Prevent- 
ing it. By Edward Parrish, Philadelphia, 309 

Fitting up and Ornamenting Drug Stores. By F. Hale, New York, . . 313 
The Active Principle of Dogwood Bark. By John M. Maisch, 

Philadelphia, . .^ 315 

Pepsin. By Alexander Cushman, New York City 319 

Therapeutic Value of Foreign and Indigenous Plants. By H. A. 

Tilden, N. Lebanon, . ... .-. . .-. 326 



The Behavior of Essential Oils to Iodine and Bromine. By John M. 

Maisch, Philadelphia, 338 

The Officinal Preparations of Metallic Mercury, with a new Mercurial 

Machine (and engraving.) By Dr. E. R. Squibb, New York, .... 359 

Syrup Iodide of Iron, and Tests for Iodine. By F. F. Mayer, New 

York City, 3G8 

The Probable Influence of Isomerism on the Therapeutic Power of Sub- 
stances. By Isaac Coddington, New York City, 373 

The Specific Gravity of Water at Different Temperatures. By W. H. 

Pile, Philadelphia, 374 

The Use of Catawba Wine in Pharmacy as a Menstruum. By Zim- 
merman & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, • • 377 

The Application of Catawba Brandy in Pharmacy. By Zimmer- 
man & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 380 

Comparative Analysis of "Prices" and "Proctor & Gamble's" Glyce- 
rine. Presented by A. Cushman, 383 

A New Drug Mill, with engraving, from Tilden & Co., N. Lebanon, 

N. Y., ! 384 


Correspondence of the United States Patent Office, 385 

Constitution, 398 

Roll of Members, 404 

Honorary List, 415 

Correspondents, 415 

Suspended List, 416 



The Executive Committee ask for the special attention of every pharma- 
ceutist, who has the good and v?elfare of our Association at heart, to the few 
remarks which follow, in which they feel that they address each member of 
our Association personally. 

With this brief introduction, the Executive Committee of the American 
Pharmaceutical Association take pleasure in presenting herewith the Report 
of Proceedings of our Annual Meeting for 1859. We feel that the Associa- 
tion has reason to be proud of these annual publications ; and we think that 
in real worth and valuable contributions to science and pharmacy, this volume 
may be safely and favorably compared with anj- that have preceded it. 

It is now about three months since the meeting of which this volume is the 
Report; and your Committee feel that it is due to themselves, as well as to 
the Association, to show why the delay of publication has been so great. 

Your Committee made full and complete arrangements for the publication 
of this volume as soon as they were appointed and authorized so to do. It 
was agreed to be published and delivered to the members within four weeks - 
of the close of the session ; and it would have been so delivered, had not cir- 
cumstances entirely beyond the control of the Committee prevented. 

Some of these preventing causes can be removed entirely, and your Com- 
mittee beg indulgence if they speak plainly of a matter which is somewhat of 
importance to us all. We should have our report of proceedings ready for 
delivery within a month after close of session ; while the meeting is fresh in 
the memories of those who attend, and while those prevented from being 
present are looking for the Report with interest and anticipation. This can 
be done, and we trust the Committee who succeed us may have the pleasure 
of presenting the next annual report at a far eai-lier period than we have 
been able to. 

The reasons of our delay are simply these. The manuscripts for publica- 
tion were not all received by us, so as to be given to the printers, for many 
weeks after the close of the session. The last manuscript could not be given 
to the printers until November 28th. Can you wonder at the delay ? 


The delay has not been all, however; it has imposed upon your Committee 
extra arduous duties in writing and urging forward the manuscripts. 

The publication of a volume like this, necessarily imposes upon your Com- 
mittee an amount of labor which has always been cheerfully and freely given, 
but as the increase of our Association, and the consequent enlargement of our 
Reports go on, it will be a matter of so much importance that we can hardly 
expect to find among our members those who are willing to undertake the 
publication of the Annual Report, unless they are assured beforehand of the 
completeness of the " copy " in all its details, before being placed in their 

Your Committee would respectfully suggest that all manuscripts should be 
clearly and fairly written, and be left with Executive Committee for pub- 
lication, and in all practicable cases, the correcting of the proofs be left with 
the same committee. In this way some delay may be avoided, owing to send- 
ing proofs oftentimes to a distance, delays of mail, etc., unavoidably occurring. 

Your Committee feel that it is very important a paper should be printed 
correctly, for the author's reputation ; and they also feel, as every executive 
committee doubtless would feel, that it is also important that all be correct for 
their own reputation. 

As to the manuscripts, your Committee would respectfully suggest that a 
resolve be passed at an early day of our next session to this effect : 

Resolved, That the Executive Committee receive from the hands of the 
Secretary, on the last day of the session, all papers and manuscripts, with the 
minutes of the meeting, referred to them for publication : said manuscripts to 
be fairly and legibly written, and in proper state to be given to the printers ; 
all manuscripts and papers not so delivered to be excluded from the printed 
Report, uidess delay be granted by a special vote of the Association. 

The passage of this resolve, your Committee feel confident, will materially 
aid their successors in discharging their duties. 

As regards the size of the present volume. The amount of matter which 
is contained in this volume, if printed in same manner as reports of previous 
years, would make a volume of one thousand pages, and a corresponding in- 
crease of cost. Your Committee have taken the liberty of condensing the 
matter very much, as will be seen, in size of type; thus reducing the cost of 
publication below what they found, from the amount of matter referred to 
them, it must of necessity be. We thought we should be obliged to call upon 
the members for a subscription to defray the expenses of publication, but dis- 
liking to establish a precedent in this way — for our Association should be a 
self-sustaining one — we took the course of reducing expense by diminishing 
the size of book. We are happy to announce to the Association, that all the 
expenses will most probably be met very readily, if those members who may 
be in arrears will send the amount due to the Treasurer, INIr. Ashel Boyden, 

The Treasurer makes an earnest appeal to all who may be in arrears, to 
forward at once their dues, and thus furnish the funds to pay for printing 


these proceedings. Any moneys sent to either the President, Mr. S. M. Col- 
cord, or Chairman of E.xeeutive Committee, -will be at once handed to the 
Treasurer, and his receipt for same returned. 

Ko assessment will be made until the result of this call is known, or at least 
for thirty days after the publication of this volume. 

We would much prefer that each year should pay for its own Proceedings 
and we suggest to each member the plan of ordering as many copies of the 
present and past volumes as they can dispose of within this month ; with the 
impression that by the adoption of this plan we shall thus be placed at once 
in funds, without making any call for assistance. 

Those members who may not have procured certificates of membership can 
have them by addressing either the President, Treasurer, or Chairman Exec- 
utive Committee. The name to be inserted should be plainly written, with 
full directions for delivery of certificate accompanying it. It is hoped that 
verj' many will send their order for a certificate, thus helping our common 
treasury, and at the same time furnishing themselves with a badge which can 
be prominently shown and will identify them as members of the American 
Pharm. Association. 

The reports of proceedings for past years, all that are now in print, may be 
had by applying to the President, Treasurer, or Chairman Exec. Committee. 
It is hoped that many may avail themselves of the opportunity of procuring 
the back numbers, which each year becpme more scarce. 

"We would call special attention to the Patent Office Reports, pp. 385-397. 

The valuable character of these reports will at once strike every member ; 
and at the same time they may be considered complimentary to our Associa- 
tion, evincing the interest felt in us by our national gevernment. "We trust 
we may continue to receive assistance from the same source. What disposi- 
tion was made of the rare and valuable plants which accompanied the gov- 
ernment papers, may be found in the Minutes. 

The Committee on Act of Incorporation has been organized, and we pre- 
sume our petition may be already before Congress. We bespeak for this 
object, that which we know will be given, the personal aid and hearty support 
of each of our members, with their delegates in Congress. 

It is possible that some errors in the names of members in the roll may 
have cccurred. The greatest care has been used, and as far as possible the 
correct spelling has been ascertained. We shall esteem it a kindness if all 
who notice any error of this kind will notify the Treasurer, that the correc- 
tions may be made on his books. 

An edition of one thousand copies of the proceedings have been printed, 
each copy bound in boards. One will be sent to each member. The price of 
the volume will be one dollar, postage twenty-five cents ; and it is hoped that 
the members will promote the sale of the work, and thus increase the income 
of the Association. 


Trusting that what has been done may receive the approbation of the 
Association, and that all remarks, hints, and suggestions may be received as 
they are given, freely, kindly, and plainly, as become brethren in pharmacy, 
We remain, 

Your ob't servants. 

Charles T. Carney, 
Charles A. Tufts, 
S. S. Garrigues, 
George W. Berrian, Jr., 
Charles Bullock. 





The American Pharmaceutical Association commenced its 
Eighth Annual Meeting, at the Hall of the Massachusetts 
College of Pharmacy, Boston, on Tuesday, Sept. 13th, 1859, 
at 3 o'clock, P. M. 

In the absence of the President, the meeting was called to 
order by Vice-President Robert Battey, of Rome, Ga. The 
Secretary being absent, Alfred B. Taylor, of Philadelphia, 
was appointed to act as Secretary, pro tern. 

The President appointed Messrs. John Meakim, of New 
York, James S. Melvin, of Boston, and Israel J. Grahame, of 
Baltimore, a Committee on Credentials, who, after a short 
recess, reported the following delegates duly appointed to 
attend the present meeting: — 

From tlie Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. 
Thomas Restieaux, Boston, William Brown, Boston, 

Geo. W. Parmenter, " Chas. H. Price, Salem, 

Eben Blatchford, Rockport. 

From the New York College of Pharmacy. 

Henry T. Kiersted, Isaac Coddington, 

William Hegeman, Geo. Thurber, and 

George W. Berrian, Jr. 

From the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, 
Wilson H. Pile, Daniel S. Jones, 

Charles Ellis, Sam'l S. Bunting, and 

Charles Bullock. 

From the Maryland College of Pharmacy. 
James Balmer, Joseph Roberts, 

N. H. Jennings, A. P. Sharpe, and 

1 I. J. Grahame. 


From the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy. 
Wm. S. Merrill, E. S. Wayne, 

W. J. M. Gordon, J. C. Parr, and 

Wm. B. Homer. 

From the St. Louis Pharmaceutical Association. 
Enno Sander, William H. Dornin, 

James 0' Gallagher, Sam'l D. Hendel, and 

Wm. B. Parker. 

From the Pharmaceutical Association of Washino-ton, D. C. 
Joseph W. Nairn, James N. Callan, 

Samuel B. Waite, Joseph B. Moore, and 

John Schwartz. 

The Executive Committee reported the names of the fol- 
lowii g persons as having been elected members of the Asso- 
ciation since its last annual meeting: — 

M. S. McConville, Worcester, Mass. 

Raymond Gravesend, New York City. 

L. Leroy, " " 

Henry Steele, " « 

William Wright, Jr. " " 

James H. Anderson, " " 

P. Wendover Bedford, '•' " 

Alfred J. Shipley, " « 

James T. King, Middletown, N. Y. 

J. Hartly Bunn, Lynchburg, Va. 

R. H. Land, Newberry C. H., S. C. 

J. F. Grossklaus, Navarre, Ohio. 

C. F. Gove Collins, Beloit, Wis. 

Louis D. Lanszweert, San Francisco, Cal. 

Charles Hodge, " « 

George S. Dickey, " « 

George E. Hinckley, " " 

Albert L. Calder, Providence, R. L 
The Executive Committee reported the names of the fol- 
lowing persons as recommended for membership : — 


Thomas A. Lancaster, Adolphus F. Xeynaber, Adam H. Wil- 
son, Philadelphia, Penn. ; Lewis T. Sillyman, Columbia, S. C. ; 
J. Henry Zeilen, Macon, Ga. ; Harry C. Morris, W. Sherman 
Potts, St. Paul ; John W. Shedden, W. Xeergaard, New York ; 
M. M. De Levis, Chicago ; Charles Peflferman, Peru, Lid. ; 
W. J. Luck, Tincennes, Ind. ; W. F. Clency, Cincinnati ; John 
G. Cook, Lewiston, Me.; E. T. Miller. York, Penn.; J. T. 
Barnett, Danville, Ky. ; James Stratton, Bordentown, X. J. ; 
Henry Q. Mack, New York City; W. H. Warner, J. B. W. 
Nowlin, Rome, Ga. ; J. A. Taylor, W. A. Lansdell, Robert J. 
Massey, B. M. Smith, Atlanta, Ga. ; Daniel F. White, Charles- 
town, Mass. ; Fleming G. Grieve, Milledgeville, Ga. ; James L. 
Burbank, Worcester; Joseph Haven Thacher, Portsmouth, 
N. H. ; Leopold Babo, Boston ; Charles E. Hinckley, Wm. H. 
Keith, James G. Steele, San Francisco ; John C. Howe, Bos- 
ton ; Ed. G. Frothingham, Jr., Haverhill, Mass. ; H. M. Whit- 
ney, Lawrence ; Chancey L. Case, Brandon, Yt. ; Nelson B. 
Scott, Worcester, Mass. ; N. S. Harlow, Bangor, Me. ; Levi G. 
Dodge, Boston; Franklin K. Phillips, East Boston; A. G. 
Weeks, Wm. J. Cutler, E. Waldo Cutler, B. F. Brown, Wm. 
D. Miller, Boston; Walter F. Phillips, Portland, Me.; A. R. 
Bayley, Cambridgeport; Theodore S. Harris, Geo. H. Chap- 
man, Boston; B. K. Bliss, Springfield; Nathan Dikeman, Jr., 
Waterbury, Conn.; John French, Boston; James Morgan, 
Concord, N. H. ; L. L. Dutchcr, St. Albans, Yt. ; Theodore 
Wheeler, Boston; Edmund Dana, Jr., Portland; C. C. Bixby, 
North Bridgewater ; Orlando Tompkins, Boston : Warren 
Tapley, Lynn ; A. H. Ramsey, Cambridge, Mass. ; Isaac T 
Campbell, South Boston; Thomas Doliber, Charles Clarke 
John T. Brown, Boston ; Geo. M. Washburn, Chicago, 111 
Thomas A. Sweetser, South Danvers : Julius Cone, John P 
Rollins, Concord, N. H. ; Frederick Dutcher, St. Albans, Yt. 
John B. Arnold, Fitchburg; Geo. A. Kimball, Haverhill 
Michael H. 'Gleeson, Boston; George Moore, Great Falls 
N. H. ; Wm. Baker, Brunswick, Me. ; Edw. H. Rollins, Concord 
Chas. E. Field, Chelsea; E. A. Morse, Rutland, Yt. ; Francis 
0. Bigelow, Medford, Mass. 


A ballot was ordered. The President appointed Mr. Ed- 
ward Parrisb, Mr. Henry W. Lincoln, and Mr. John Meakim 
as tellers, who, after balloting, declared that all of these 
gentlemen had been elected. 

The Executive Committee reported that they had some 
other names to present to the Association for membership, 
about whose eligibility they had had some doubts. 

It was explained that these parties were not eligible under 
the Constitution, although they were worthy men, some of 
them chemists and dealers in eclectic medicines. 

Mr. Brewer, of Boston, moved to refer these names again 
to the Executive Committee. 

Mr. Edward Parrish, of Philadelphia, thought dealers in 
eclectic medicines were, or should be, eligible as pharma- 

The Chairman remarked that this was a matter of much 
importance, and demands careful attention. 

Mr Parrish said he was opposed to letting in quacks ; but 
chemists and many other useful men of practical knowledge 
were kept out by the Constitution. 

Henry T. Cummings, of Portland, Me., was in favor of ad- 
mitting all persons properly advanced in pharmacy ; but the 
selection from chemists, etc., should be as careful as possible. 

Mr. Charles Ellis, of Philadelphia, thought the rules should 
be altered before admitting a new class of men to the As- 

Mr. Thomas Hollis, of Boston, thought the Association 
would be strengthened by the addition of scientific men. 

Mr. Wm. Procter, Jr., of Philadelphia, thought something 
should be done to relieve the Committee of unpleasant respon- 

The motion to refer these names back to the Executive 
Committee then prevailed. 

Mr. Colcord, of Boston, wished to know whether the Asso- 
ciation had a right to inquire into the character and standing 
of delegates from the local societies. 


Mr. Parrish, of Philadelphia, thought the Convention had 
no right to inquire the standing or occupation of delegates. 

Mr. Colcord, of Boston, wished to know if the Association 
had a right to inquire whether delegates claiming membership 
by virtue of their credentials were eligible under the rules of 
the Constitution, or whether they must be received solely on 
their credentials. 

Mr. Parrish, of Philadelphia, thought the Association had 
no right to inquire the standing or occupation of delegates. 

The roll of members in attendance was then called, and 
the following persons were marked present: — 

Robert Battey, Rome, Ga. 
Chas. Ellis, Philadelphia. 
Wm. Procter, Jr., " 
Edward Parrish, " 
Daniel Henchman, Boston. 
Thomas Hollis, " 

John Meakim, New York. 
Wm. A. Brewer, Boston. 
S. M. Colcord, 
Charles T. Carney, " 
Charles A. Tufts, Dover. 
A. P. Sharp, Baltimore. 
Jos. Roberts, " 
Jas. Bulmer, " 

H. T. Cummings, Portland,Me. 
S. R. Philbrick, " 

Jas. Emerton, Salem, Mass. 
A. P. .Melzar, Boston. 
John Buck. Chelsea, Mass. 
Henry Haviland, New York. 
George W.Bcrrian, Jr., '' 
Chas. H. Lyon, Jr., Boston. 
Ashel Boyden, " 

Chas. Bullock, Philadelphia. 
Jas. N. Callan, Minnesota. 
M. H. Gleeson, Boston. 
Geo. D. Towne, '•' 
John G. Cooke, Lewiston, Me. 
George Thuiber, New York. 

Total, fifty-five members. 

William Hegeman, New York. 

Geo. W. De La Vergne, N. Y. 

Henry W. Lincoln, Boston. 

David Scott, Worcester. 

Ambrose Smith, Philadelphia. 

Wilson H. Pile, " 

Daniel S. Jones, " 

A. B. Taylor, '' 

0. G. Dort, Keene, N. H. 

H. T. Kierstcd, New York. 

S. S. Bunting, Philadelphia. 

E. G. Frothingham, Jr., Haver- 
hill, Mass. 

Isaac Coddington, New York. 

John D. Dix, " 

J. Stratton, Bordentown, N. J. 

J. T. King, Mlddletown, N. Y. 

Henry D. Fowle, Boston. 

James Gordon, " 

Granville M. Clark, " 

James S. Melvin, " 

Fleming G. Grieve, Milledge- 
ville. Ga. 

S. S. Garrigues, Philadelphia. 

Israel J. Grahame, Baltimore. 

Theodore S. Harris, Boston. 

Geo. H. Chapman, " 

Leauder Ncal, Lancaster, Pa. 


On motion of Mr. Colcord, Mr. Crook was employed by the 
Association as a reporter — to report the proceedings of the 
body for the use of the Recording Secretary. 

Tickets of admission to the Boston Museum, during the 
session, were presented to the Association by the Hon. Moses 
Kimball. The tickets were accepted, and a vote of thanks 
passed to Mr. Kimball. 

A communication was read from Nath'l B. Shurtleflf, M. D., 
on behalf of the Trustees of the Massachusetts State Lib- 
rary, inviting the guests of the Mass. College of Pharmacy to 
visit the State Library at the State House. 

A communication was read from Hon. Emory Washburn, 
on behalf of the Standing Committee of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society, to visit the rooms of the Society. 

A communication was read from Hon. John P. Bigclow, on 
behalf of the Trustees of the Public City Library, inviting the 
Members of the Association to visit and avail themselves of 
the privileges of the Library during their session in tliis city. 

On motion these invitations were accepted, and the thanks 
of the Association were voted to each of these bodies. 

A letter from Mr. Eugene L. Massot, President of the St. 
Louis Pharmaceutical Association, on behalf of that body, was 
read, inviting this Association to hold its next annual u;eeting 
in 1860, in St. Louis. 

A letter from Mr. Kidwcll, President of the Association, 
was read, regretting his inability to attend the meeting of the 
Association, also stating that he had sent to the Association 
several plants presented by Mr. Brown, of the Agricultural 
Department of the Patent Office, as also his Report from the 
Agricultural Department and the Lidian Office, and requesting 
that he might be continued on the Committee to confer with 
those Departments. 

A letter was read from Mr. E. Ringk, Vice President of the 
Swiss Apothecaries Association, acknowledging the receipt of 
the Proceedings of the Association, and desiring to exchange 


the Swiss Pharmaceutical plants for the North American offici- 
nal plants ; also expressing the hope that kindly relations and 
intercourse might continue between the two associations. 

The Reports of the Standing and Special Committees being 
called for, the following Reports were presented, read by title, 
and laid upon the table for further consideration : 

Report on the Progress of Pharmacy. 

Report from the Agricultural Department of the Patent 
Office, and Report from the Office of Indian Affairs of the Inte- 
rior Department, accompanied by letters from John L. Kid- 
well, President of the Association, from the Department of 
the Interior, and from C. Carson, Indian Agent, Utah, the lat- 
ter as follows : 

Utah Agency, Taos, N. M., June 15, 1859. 
Sir : — Circular from your office, dated April 30th, 1859, 1 have the honor 
to acknowledge. The only reply I can make is to send you roots and herbs, 
stating for -what they are used by the Indians. The names are only known 
to themselves. They are gathered in the mountains. The samples I send 
you are used by the Jicharilla Apaches. I will send from time to time, such 
as are brought to me by the Indians. They are found in latitudes 37°, 38" 
and 39°. Obtained in small quantities, seven hundred miles frgm navigable 
streams, the only facility of sending them to market is on pack mules. 
I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully. 

Your obedient servant, 

C. Carsox, 

Indian Agent. 
Hon. Commissioner Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 

Report of the Committee on Revision of the Pharmacopoeia. 
Report on Weights and Measures. 
Report on Home Adulterations, with specimens. 
The Report of the Executive Committee was presented, 
read and accepted. 

To the American rharmaceutical Association : — 

The Executive Committee have endeavored to fulfil the duties required of 
them by the Constitution and specially allotted to them by vote of the Associa- 
tion, during the past year as follows : 

The volume of proceedings for 1858 was published as early as practicable af- 


ter the meeting ; much delay having been occasioned by the voluminous char- 
acter of some of the papers, and especially by the numerous corrections ren- 
dered necessary to fit them for publication. The book reached in all 488 
pages, and has been generally acknowledged to contain many valuable contri- 
butions to pharmaceutical science. 

The edition issued was the same as heretofore, and the entire cost of publi- 
cation was $895, including binding. 

Besides the copies distributed gratuitously among the members, to editors, 
scientific bodies, etc., aconsiderable number were sold through the kindness of 
S. M. Colcord of Boston, J. Meakim of New York, I. J. Grahame of Balti- 
more, W. J. M. Gordon of Cincinnati, E. L. Massot of St. Louis, and others. 
A large portion of the edition still remains, and it would be desirable if mem- 
bers -would aid in giving this valuable series of essays a more extended circu- 

There have been twenty-three applications for membership during the 
recess; of these twenty have been elected by the Executive Committee before 
reported, and the following are now recommended for election by the Associ- 
ation : J. Henry Zeilen, ]\Iacon, Ga.; Fleming G. Grieve, Milledgeville, Ga. 

The certificate of membership of the Association has been issued in favor 
of 50 members elected at the last annual meeting and during the recess. 

Owing to the engrossing nature of the publication of the proceedings, the 
Executive Committee were unable to give very early attention to the appli- 
cation for an act of incorporation which they were directed to make to Con- 

The following petition was, however, drawn up under the advice of a mem- 
ber of the House of Representatives, signed, and forwarded to Congress, where 
it met the fate of so many similar documents : 

To the Honorable Senators and Members of the House of Representatives in 
Congress assembled. 

The petition of the undersigned Oflicers and Executive Committee of the 
American Pharmaceutical Association, respectfully represents, that our Asso- 
ciation was established in the year 1852 by Druggists, Chemists, and Pharma- 
ceutists, for the following purposes: 

1st. To improve and regulate the drug market, by preventing the importa- 
tion of inferior, adulterated, or deteriorated drugs, and by detecting and expos- 
ing home adulterations. 

2d. To establish the relations between druggists, pharmaceutists, physicians 
and the people at large, upon just principles which shall j^romotc the public 
welfare and tend to mutual strength and advantage. 

3d. To promote the science and the art of Pharmacy by diilusing scientific 
knowledge among apothecaries and druggists, fostering pharmaceutical litera- 
ture, developing talent, stimulating discovery and invention, and encourag- 
ing home production and manufacture in the several departments of the drug 


4th. To regulate the system of apprenticeship and employment, so as to 
prevent as far as practicable the evils flowing from deficient training in the 
responsible duties of preparing, dispensing, and selling medicines. 

5th. To suppress empiricism, and as much as possible to restrict the dispens- 
ing and sale of medicines to regularly educated druggists and apothecaries. 

This Association already comprises members residing and practising the 
art of preparing medicine in twenty-seven States. Its meetings are held 
annually in the principal cities of the Union, having already occurred in 
Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Washington. 

In view of the national character of this organization, we desire to extend 
its influence and permanence by an act of incorporation, and to secure by 
this means a representation in the Convention of Incorporated Medical and 
Pharmaceutical Institutions, meeting every ten years for the revision of the 
Pharmacopoeia of the United States. 

The undersigned, therefore, respectfully solicit an act of incorporation from 
your honorable bodies, and will ever pray, &c. 

The immense amount of business towards the end of a short session pre- 
vented the passage of some of the appropriation bills, and it could hardly be 
expected that a matter of so little comparative interest as an act of incorpora- 
tion must have appeared could claim attention, notwithstanding the zealous 
efforts of our late President, a resident of Washington, to bring it to the 
attention of the members. 

It will be necessary for the Association to decide whether this subject need 
claim the further attention of our successors. 

Samuel S. Garrigues, 
Edward Parrisii, 
Henry W. Lincolx. 

The following Committee was appointed by the different 
delegations, to nominate ofiScers for the ensuing }x;ar. 

Henry W. Lincoln, from the Massachusetts Delegation. 

Wm. Hegeman, from the New York Delegation. 

Charles Bullock, from the Philadelphia Delegation. 

I. J. Graliame, from the Baltimore Delegation. 

James N. Callan, from the Washington Delegation. 

The following gentlemen were added to the Committee, 
being appointed by the President from the Association at 
large : Charles A. Tufts, of New Hampshire ; Edward Parrish, 
of Pennsylvania; and A. P. Sharp, of Baltimore, Md. 

On motion, the Association adjourned to meet to-morro"w 
morning at 9 o'clock. 



Wednesday Morning, Sept. 14, 1859. 
The Association was called to order by Robert Battey, the 
presiding officer. The Committee on Credentials presented 
the credentials of Edwin 0. Gale from the Chicago Pharma- 
ceutical Association. 

A communication was received from Hon. Edward Everett 
in behalf of the Boston Public Library, acknowledging the 
receipt of a full set of the published proceedings of the As- 
sociation since its organization. 

The Executive Committee reported the following names for 

J. Lyndley Pyle, Brooklyn. 

Cyrus Pyle, " 

Uriah B. Wilson, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Samuel P. Duffield, Detroit, " 

F. Feist Mayer, New York. 

Jos. T. Brown, Boston. 

Benj. Proctor, Lynn. 

Samuel A. Smith, Newburyport. 

Moses D. Colby, Boston. 

Geo. Woodbridge, " 

R. J. Taylor, Newport, R. L 

Joel S. Orne, Cambridge, Mass. 

Francis D. Hardy, Jr., Cambridge, Mass. 

William T. S. Cardy, Chelsea. 

A ballot was ordered, Messrs. Haviland, Buck, and Bullock 
acting as tellers, who reported that they all had been unani- 
mously elected. 

Notice was given that the Boston Society of Natural His- 
tory would be open to-day to the public till 5 P. M. 

Henry T. Cummings, of Portland, Me., offered the follow- 
ing resolution : — 

"That the name or title of the American Pharmaceutical 
Association shall not be employed by any of the members 



thereof upon signs or labels, or in advertisements, in a man- 
ner to compromise the Association in respect to its approba- 
tion or endorsement of any species of nostrums or proprietary 

This was withdra-wn to give place to other business. 

The Committee on Nominations reported the following list 
of officers for the ensuing year, viz. : — 


Samuel M. Colcord, 


]st. Wm. Procter, Jr., 

2d. Joseph Egberts, 

3d. Edwin 0. Gale, ... - 

Recording Secretary, 
Charles Bullock, .... 

William Hegeman, 
AsHEL Boyden, 

Corresponding Secretary, 


Executive Committee, 

Boston, Mass. 

Philadelphia, Pa. 
Baltimore, Md. 
Chicago, 111. 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

New York. 
Boston, Mass. 

Boston, Mass. 
Dover, N. H. 
Philadelphia, Pa. 
New York. 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

Charles T. Carney, - - . - 
Charles A. Tufts, . . . . 
S. S. Garrigues, ... - 

Geo. W. Berrian, Jr., 
Charles Bullock, .... 

Committee on Progress of Pharmacy, 
Edward Parrish, .... Philadelphia, Pa. 

Alpheus p. Sharp, .... Baltimore, Md. 
Eugene L. Massot, - - - - St. Louis, Mo. 
James N. Callan, .... Washington, B.C. 
William Hegeman, .... New York. 

The report was accepted, and a ballot ordered, Messrs. 
Haviland and Buck acting as tellers. Samuel M. Colcord, of 
Boston, was declared unanimously elected. 


On motion of Edward Parrish, tlie remaining officers were 
elected viva voce. 

Robert Battey, Edward Parrish, and Charles Ellis were 
appointed to conduct the President elect to the chair. 

The acting President, on retiring from the chair, addressed 
the Association as follows : — 

Gentlemen : — In the absence of our -worthy President, John L. Kidwell, 
of Georgetown, D. C., as also of the first and second Vice Presidents, it has 
most unexpectedly devolved upon me to preside over this body till its organ- 
ization ; and in the discharge of this trust I feel called upon to offer you a 
very meagre and hasty address upon a few of the topics which are to engross 
your attention at the present sitting of the Association. 

I heartily join you, gentlemen, in the embarrassment which we all feel, 
deprived as we are of the valuable aid which the annual address of our Presi- 
dent affords us as a guide to our deliberations. Equally do I sympathize with 
you in the disappointment which the loss of this usually prominent intellect- 
ual feast occasions ; and in this connection I would respectfully suggest and 
urge the importance of our presiding officer preparing this necessary docu- 
ment at a period sufficiently early to insure its safe delivery at the time and 
place of meeting, in case it shall be impossible for him to attend in person. 

Of the progress which the Association has made in the last twelve months, 
I cannot speak pointedly and authoritatively, and therefore will not speak at 
all ; but simply refer you to the fact that in the organization of the Associa- 
tion in 1857 forty-five members answered to the call of the roll ; in 1858, at a 
similar stage of the proceedings, only twenty-five were found to be present. 
On yesterday, gentlemen, if I mistake not, you listened to the response of 
over fifty members upon the call. In addition to this evidence of continued 
and increasing interest, you will not have failed to observe the very large num- 
ber of new members admitted by ballot upon the recommendation of the Execu- 
tive Committee. In the absence of any reflecting mirror upon these walls, at 
the peril of your modesty and mine, I ask you to look around you for the evi- 
dences of character, Intellect, and zealous devotion to the common cause dear 
to all of us, which give hope and confidence to the future. Here and there you 
will notice the downy lip, with all the anticipation, impetuosity, and vigor of 
youth. Here also In full force is to be found the more deliberate strength 
and firmness of manhood. And there stand the fathers in our profession, 
their locks silvered over with the frosts of many winters, attesting by their 
presence here to-day that they have joined the zeal of youth to the strength 
of manhood, and grafted both upon the sturdy stock of experienced and 
reflecting age. Separated as we are, not by miles, but by thousands of miles, 
each with an influence more or less extended in the little circle of his chosen 
home, and yet all united as touching one thing, who shall say that the object 


for which we labor will not be accomplished ? I cannot doubt, gentlemen, 
that you will sustain me in the assertion that we have much cause of contrrat- 
ulation in the past, and for earnest effort in the future. 

The subject of the participation of this Association as a distinctive body 
through it^ appropriate committee of delegates, in the next revision of the 
Pharmacopoeia, is one which has commanded the attention of the body, and 
the Executive Committee at our last session were instructed to apply for an 
act of incorporation, with a view to the accomplishment of this end. The 
report of that committee is upon the table, and will come up before you in due 
time for deliberation and further action. 

You are aware that without this act of incorporation any delegation which 
we may appoint will not be received into the Pharmacopceial Convention ; 
and it is well also to bear in mind, that with the incorporation we are not 
necessarily entitled to such a representation, since our Association, taking its 
origin subsequently to the last meeting of the revisory convention, is not now 
recognized by the rules which govern that body. I doubt not, gentlemen, vou 
will feel deeply interested in the matter, and take such action as will distinct- 
ively preserve to our body the labors which we may contribute towards the 
newly revised Pharmacopoeia. I commend this whole subject to your mature 
thought and earnest individual effort. 

The question of eligibility of persons for membersliip in the A^ssouiation will 
perhaps come before you. You need not be informed of the language of the 
Constitution upon this point, nor need I tell you that the Constitution is 
worded with an object and intention upon the part of its framers, the purity 
of which will not be called in question, whatever decision we may arrive at as 
to its wisdom. The question I conceive to be one of moment, one which lie3 
near to the foundation of the superstructure which we have reared, one which 
it does not become us to act upon hastily or inconsiderately. In it may be 
involved the perpetuity of the Association upon the one hand, or its more 
extended usefulness and increased dignity upon the other. There is doubtless 
much to be gained by the introduction of zealous, enterprising, investigating 
men, who are manufacturing chemists only, and neither pharmaceutists nor 
druCTorists, as required by our Constitution. We may learn much that is new 
and useful from eclectic pharmaceutists properly so called, and yet it may be 
pertinently asked. Are we not opening the door of our citadel to a dangerous 
extent, if we admit them ? Now shall we be able to draw the line between the 
different trades of manufacturing chemists, shading off as they do by insensible 
gradations until at last science is well-nigh gone and a mere mechanical art 
remains? Shall we admit the chemist who manufactures drugs in general, 
and exclude the fabricator of but a few medicinal articles? or, if he be admitted, 
what are we to do with those engaged in paints and dyes, perfumeries and 
other kindred pursuits ? How do we stand with reference to analytical chem- 
ists, closely allied to us, with professors of chemistry and materia medica in 


our medical schools, botanists, mineralogists, and other men of science pursuing 
themes of study more or less akin to ours ? If we admit the eclectic, how are 
we to refuse the culler of simples, the Thompsonian, the Homoeopathibt ? 

The subject is one which may be oft turned over in the mind, and I trust, 
gentlemen, you will turn it industriously until you shall have seen its every 
phase before pronouncing your decision. I will merely throw out the sug- 
gestion, that if ic be deemed desirable to open wider the door of membership, 
it mioht be done by the introduction of a third order of members interme- 
diate between the two already recognized, and to be known as associate mem- 
bers; enjoying, perhaps, all the privileges of the others, excepting the privi- 
leges of office-holding, voting, and paying. 

In conclusion, gentlemen, allow me to express to you my heartfelt thanks 
for the honor conferred upon me in my absence at your last meeting, which 
has accidentally called forth this feeble tribute to our common cause. 

The President elect was conducted to the chair, and on 
taking his seat made the following address: — 

Gentlkmex- Associates : — The honor you have conferred by electing me 
to preside over your deliberations, I accept with reluctance, on the score of my 
own personal dis([ualifications, though as a compliment in giving the office to 
Boston, and as the highest compliment from the Association to me, I value it 
highly, as reposing confidence in one of your oldest members, who has always 
been ready to offer his views for what they are worth at a period in your 
history when there was no precedent to follow and no landmarks to guide, — 
at a period when a mistake in our organization might have proved fatal to the 
realization of our hopes. 

Happily, those questions of a perplexing character that must necessarily 
arise and be settled, in the first efforts of our organization, in the general plan 
of our operations, have been met and settled ; and it must be gratifying to 
you, as to mc, that it has been done without jar or discord, — that all have 
been united in one common object — to promote the advancement of phar- 
maceutic skill and science throughout the land. To attain this end, we have 
thrown our doors wide open to welcome all well-wishers to our profession, to 
unite with us to receive whatever of good we have to impart, and to do what 
they may for the benefit of our common cause. 

How dilfcrent are the circumstances under which we meet to-day, our 
eVhth anniversary, to what was our first meeting, with but nine members, 
strangers. An imperative necessity existed for associated effort to regulate 
and improve our profession. We then met without confidence in ourselves, 
and under a still greater embarrassment of having no leaders in our labors ; 
strangers by reputation even to our distant brethren, how could we look with 
confidence to their support in the general apathy which all knew hung like 
an incubus over all ranks in our line of business. 


I have said that an imperative necessity existed for such an organization, 
and that I can give as the only reason why we exist. All other trades and 
professions have their organizations for associated efforts, and as it is the 
general average of varied talent and ideas that make the unit nearest per- 
fection, so yve shall find it ; every one has a mission to perform as -well to his 
fellow as to himself. There is no one so himible in our ranks but can add 
something of value to our common stock. Then let us each lay aside excess 
of modesty as well as ostentation, and join head and heart in the work be- 
fore us. 

It is with these views and with these feelings that I accept the ofBce with 
which you have honored me — not because I feel that you have made the 
wisest selection, and grave doubts that you have made a judicious one — but 
as no one can tell his capabilities until they have made the trial; and relying 
upon your. generous support and kind forbearance, I can only promise my 
best eflTorts for facilitating business, as well as for your general comfort and 
happiness while you remain in Boston. 

And I feel sure that while I express myself personally at your disposal, I 
do but express the sentiments of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, as 
well as the drug trade of Boston. 

And I can but hope that you will consider us, individually and collectively, 
as a committee of the whole, raised for your especial convenience during your 
sojourn with us — and make use of us accordingly. 

After a short recess the Association was called to order. 

On motion of Mr. Meakim, of New York, the thanks of the 
Association were tendered to Robert Battey, for his address, 
and the able manner in which he had presided, also to A. B. 
Taylor, Secretary pro tern., for his services. 

A resolution was passed to make the report of the Com- 
mittee on Home Adulterations the first order of business in 
the afternoon. 

The Chair appointed Messrs. Hollis, of Boston, Stratton, of 
New Jersey, and Bunting of Philadelphia, a Committee to 
take charge of the various invitations extended to the Associa- 
tion, also to prepare for action, subjects referred to by the 
retiring President in his address, and other unprepared busi- 
ness laid on the table. 

Wm. Procter, Jr., of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Com- 
mittee on the " Progress of Pharmacy " read extracts from 
a voluminous report, embracing a view of the discoveries and 


improvements in Pharmacy and the sciences ; the condition of 
the schools of Pharmacy in the United States ; Pharmaceutical 
literature, new works issued, and in course of publication on 
Chemistry, Materia Medica, and Pharmacy ; and the condition 
of the drug market and chemical manufactures. Concluding 
with oiiituary notices of men eminent is scientific attainment. 

The report was accepted, and referred to the Executive 
Committee with full powers. (See page 49.) 

The subject of the suspension of the publication of Importa- 
tions of Drugs and Chemicals, was discussed by Messrs. Dix, 
of New York, Procter, Parrish, and Jones, of Philadelphia, 
and Stearns, of Mich. It was the sense of the Association that 
such a publication as had heretofore been made by the sanc- 
tion, and under the direction of the drug inspector of New 
York, was beneficial to the interests of commerce. Mr. Dix 
thought a proper representation of the subject to the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, by this Association, would probably 
remove the restriction. 

On motion of Wm. Procter, Jr., the subject was referred to 
a Special Committee, to report at a future meeting such action 
as may be deemed advisable ; to constitute this Committee, 
the Chair appointed Messrs. Dix of New York, Brewer of 
Boston, and Procter of Philadelphia. 

On motion of Edward Parrish, it was voted that the subject 
of an act of incorporation for this Association, as referred last 
year to the Executive Committee, be referred to a Special 
Committee, with power to use the necessary means to obtain 
such an act from Congress. 

The President believed it was proper to have an act of 
incorporation, so that the Association can sue and be sued, — 
so that the Committee on Adulterations can report names 
without being personally responsible, and power to hold and 
transfer property legally with other corporate rights and 

Mr. Stratton, of New Jersey, thought if they had an act of 


incorporation they would be more likely to receive donations 
from individuals, or from Congress. 

The Chair deferred the appointment of the Committee till 
the afternoon session. 

On motion of Wm. Procter, Jr., the Chair was directed to 
appoint a Committee of four members to examine the speci- 
mens submitted to the Association, and report at a future 
sitting, — the appointment of this Committee was reserved till 
the afternoon. 

The Executive Committee reported the following names 
for membership: — 

Wm. Atwood, Portland, Maine. 
Luther Atwood, Brooklyn, N, Y. 
Corydon E. Tyler, New York. 
Samuel Xoyes, New Haven. 
James M. B. McNary, Hartford, Conn. 
H. H. Burrington, Providence, R. I. 

A ballot was ordered, Messrs. Haviland and Buck acting 
as tellers, who reported all the above gentlemen duly elected. 

On motion of Edward Parrish, it was resolved that an 
evening session be held that evening, commencing at 7J o'clock, 
to be devoted to the reading of papers. 

On motion, adjourned, to meet at 3 o'clock, P. M. 

Wednesday Afternoon. 
The former Treasurer reported verbally : — stating that the 
expenses of publishing the proceedings for 1858 had all been 
paid, and a balance of $231^^^ remained in the hands of the 

A Committee consisting of Charles Ellis, J. Meakim, and 
Henry Haviland, were appointed to audit the account of the 
late Treasurer. 


The Executive Committee reported the following names for 
membership : — 

Charles P. Pollard, California. 
Samuel Kidder, Jr., Lowell, Mass. 
Geo. C. Hunt, Jr., Frederickton, N. B. 

A ballot was ordered, Messrs. Haviland and Buck acting as 
tellers, who reported all the above gentlemen duly elected. 

The Committee on Invitations and the President's Address 
made the following report : — 

The Committee appointed " on Invitations and on the President's Address," 
have attended to their duty, and respectfully report : that invitations have 
been presented to them to visit the Boston Museum, Mass. State Library, 
Mass. Historical Society, Public City Library, and Boston Natural History 
Society. Members wishing to visit any of the above Institutions can be ad- 
mitted by presenting their copy of the " Pharmaceutists' Guide," and their 
ticket at the Jluseum. 

The remaining topic for consideration, presented by the President's Address, 
is the " eligibility of persons for membership." 

Your Committee would recommend that Art. ij., Sec. j., of the Constitution, 
be so amended as to read as follows : — 

" Every pharmaceutist, druggist," or chemist, " of good moral and profes- 
sional standing, whether in business on his own account, retired from business, 
or employed by another, Avho, after duly considering the objects of the Asso- 
ciation, and the obligations of its Constitution, is willing to subscribe to them, 
is eligible to membership." 

All of which is respectfully submitted. 

TnoMAS HoLLis, ■] 

James Strattox, y Committee. 

Samuel S. Bunting, j 

The report was accepted and laid on the table. 

Charles T. Carney, of Boston, chairman of the Committee 
on Home Adulterations, reported at length on this important 
subject. (Sec page 245.) 

Mr. Carney exhibited numerous specimens of adulterations 
which had come to the notice of the Committee during the 
past year, one of which, the falsifications of fecula, was exhib- 
ited by Mr. Carney under the microscope, showing some hand- 
.^ome specimens of" Hio Tapioca," to be Potato Starch. 


On motion, the report was accepted, and referred to the Ex- 
ecutive Committee, with instructions to publish in full. 

Mr. Kiersted, of New York City, extended to the Associa- 
tion an invitation from the New York members present, to 
hold the next annual meeting of the Association in New York 

A letter was read from John Thompson, of Sumter, S. C, 
addressed to Charles Ellis, inviting the Association to hold 
its next meeting in Columbia, S. C. 

The attention of the Association being again occupied with 
the subject of Home and Foreign Adulterations, a number of 
interesting verbal communications were made on these sub- 
jects. The falsification of Tapioca was stated to be carried on 
very extensively in Liverpool, a New York drug house actini- 
as agents for this country. The peculiarity of the grade of 
cochineal, known in the market as " London Sifted," was de- 
scribed, its peculiarity being due to exhaustion of coloring 
matter without injuring the texture of the insect, which subse- 
quently is dried and dusted with sulphate of baryta, a pro- 
cess which, while it gives to the insect the silver grcnj color, 
has the property of somewhat increasing its avoirdupois. 

On motion of Edward Parrish, Dr. Charles T. Jackson, of 
Boston, was invited to take a seat with the Association and 
participate in its discussions. 

Dr. Charles T. Jackson made some remarks about Adul- 
terations that had come within his knowledge. In this vicinity 
corn meal and bran are used in adulteration, instead of ship- 
bread, as in New York, and bran is substituted for red lead, in 
the manufacture of red pepper. Corn meal is used in mustard 
to the extent of from 30 to 50 per cent. The cream of tartar 
used in making bread, is made up in part of ground rice and 
alum. Gum tragacanth enters into the composition of opium, 
and spices and blistering flies are ground in the same mill. 
At the request of Mr. Brewer, of Boston, he also explained 
his method of ascertaining when leather was colored by 
Nicarao;ua wood instead of cochineal. 


Remarks upon this subject were made by several other 

Mr. Hollis, of Boston, said corn meal was used in ground 
cinnamon, and soda ash was sold for saleratus. 

Mr. Dix, of New York, said it was within his knowledge 
that one firm in that city used annually one hundred tons of 
soda ash in manufacturing saleratus, and other establishments 
used smaller amounts. 

On motion of Wm. Procter, Jr., the thanks of the Associa- 
tion were tendered to Dr. Jackson for his interesting 
remarks on Adulterations. 

A specimen of a new Resin of Scammony, manufactured in 
England by Messrs. McAndrew & Sons, was laid before the 
Association by Charles Ellis, of Philadelphia, and some ex- 
planatory information concerning its commercial history, and 
properties, communicated by Messrs. Dix and Squibb, of New 
York, Procter and Parrish, of Philadelphia, and Fish, of 

Mr. Dix said the Messrs. McAndrews had had their attention 
drawn to the article by finding the plant growing wild among 
liquorice root, which they cultivated extensively in Asia Minor. 
The admixture caused them some trouble in the preparation 
of extract from the liquorice. 

Tickets of admission to the Aquarial Gardens in Bromfield 
St., were presented to the members, through Mr. Harris, of 
Boston. On motion, the thanks of the Association were tend- 
ered to Mr. Cutting, through Mr. Palmer, for the invitation. 

The Chair announced the appointment of the following 


James N. Callan, Washington, D. C. 
B. H. Rollins, Concord, N. H. 
W. A. Brewer, Boston. 
R. H. Stabler, Alexandria, D. C. 
J. L. Kidwell; Washington, D. C. 


By vote of the Association the President was authorized to 
add to, and re-construct this Committee. (See last day's pro- 


Ambrose Smith, Philadelphia. 
Prof. Thurber, New York City. 
i Prof. Procter, Philadelphia. 

A. P. Sharp, Baltimore. 

Evening Session. 

A Committee consisting of Messrs. Procter, Stearns, Carney, 
and Grahame, were appointed by the chair to bring forward a 
list of subjects to be reported on next year. 

Subjects referred last year to be reported upon at this 
meeting being called up, the following papers were read and 
referred to the Executive Committee : 

Query 39. " On Silphiura laciniatum, or rosin weed of 
the western prairies." By Edwin 0. Gale, of Chicago. (Page 

Query 2. " On Wine of Ipecacuanha," by Joseph Roberts, 
of Baltimore. (Page 281.) 

Query 3. " On coating pills with sugar, &c.," no answer 
was received from Mr. Canavan. 

Query 40. " On deterioration of pharmaceutical prepara- 
tions, and the means of preventing it, &c.," by Edward Parrish, 
of Philadelphia. (Page 309.) 

Query 5 On '• Southern prickly ash bark," no answer was 
received from ^Ir. Merrill. 

Query 6. On '■ the normal solvent power of water, alcohol, 
and ether, and their admixture," no answer was received from 
Mr. Thayer. 

Query 7. On " the value of iridescence in essential oil of 
bitter almonds as a test of its purity," no answer was received 
from Mr. Wiley. 



Query 8. On " the tests to determine adulterations of 
wines and liquors." No answer was received from Mr. 

Query 9. On " the chrome and magnesia ores of Lancaster 
county, Penn." A letter was read from Mr. Heintish, stating 
that the indisposition of Mr. Tyson, who worked the chrome 
ore, prevented his obtaining satisfactory information. Some 
valuable beds of magnesia earth are owned by Messrs. Powers 
and Weightman, of Philadelphia. 

Query 10. On ''the principles removed from opium by 
treatment with ether, &c." No answer was received from Mr. 

Query 11. ''A synopsis of the history of Pharmacy, and its 
progress." A paper was received from Mr, 0' Gallagher, ex- 
tracts from which were read by Samuel Garrigues. (Page 290.) 

Query 12. The "history [and statistics of the production 
of castor oil in Porto Rico." No answer was received from 
Mr. Milhau. 

Query 13. " The history of the culture, products, and uses 
of the cocoa nut." A letter was received from Mr. Donnely, 
and the question was, by his request, continued to him for 
another year. 

Query 14. " On the best form of press and pressing box," 
by request of E. R. Squibb, this subject, with the following one, 
(No. 15,) was continued to him for another year. In place 
of this Query, Dr. Squibb read a paper " on a new machine for 
the mechanical preparations of mercury," accompanied by a 
drawing of the machine. Dr. Squibb also remarked on some 
of the important pliysical characters of blue mass, and mercury 
with chalk, and presented specimens of these preparations. 
(Page 359,) 

Mr. Dix, of New York, presented to tlic members of the 
Association specimens of the new Scammony resin, as made 


by Messrs. McAndrcw & Son, desiring that investigation might 
be instituted to arrive at its real character and worth. 
On motion, adjourned to 9 o'clock on Thursday morning. 

Th ursday Morn ing. 

The minutes of yesterday were read, corrected, and adopted. 

Mr. Tufts, of Dover, N. H., informed the Association of 
the decease, in July last, of Mr. S. P. Peck, of Bennington, 
Vt., formerly a Vice President of this Association. Mr. Tufts 
offered the following resolution : — 

Resolved, That the American Pharmaceutical Association learn -with regret 
of the decease of S. P. Peck, of Bennington, Vt., formerly a Vice-President of 
this Association, and feel, that the Association has lost one who was warmly 
interested in its welfare, and who in all his intercourse with its members, 
gained their esteem by his courtesy and kindness. 

Resolved, That the Association tender to the family of Mr. Peck, their 
sympathy for the great loss they have sustained. 

The resolution was unanimously adopted, and the Secretary 
directed to furnish the family of Mr. Peck a copy of the 

Report of the Standing Committees being the order of 
business, the Executive Committee reported that Bradford 
Ritter, of Philadelphia, had sent in his resignation ; the 
Committee reported that Mr. Ritter had paid his dues, and 
returned his Certificate of Membership. On motion of Mr. 
Garrigues, the resignation of Mr. Ritter was accepted. 

The subject of Resignations claiming attention, the follow- 
ing resolution was offered by A. B. Taylor, of Philadelphia, 
and adopted. 

Resolved, That the Treasurer hare power to receive the resignation of 
any member, on the return of his Certificate of Membership, and the payment 
of his dues in full to the Association. 

Alfred B. Taylor, of Philadelphia, chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Weights and Measures, read abstracts from an able 
and voluminous report on tlie subject. 

On motion, the report was referred to the Executive Com- 


mittee, with instructions to publish it in full in the proceed- 
ings of the Association, and also in a separate form. (Page 115.) 

On motion, it was resolved, that when we adjourn, we ad- 
journ at 2 P. M., to meet at 3J o'clock. 

Edward Parrish, chairman of the Committee on Revision 
of the Pharmacopoeia, read extracts from a report on that 
subject. (Page 217.) 

During the reading of this report, suggestions and observa- 
tions were made by several members. 

Dr. E. R. Squibb, Mr. Colcord, Mr. Parrish, Prof. Grahame, 
Mr. Dix, Mr. Meakim, Mr. Tufts, Mr. Ellis and others, spoke 
of the proper specific gravity of ammonia, the difficulty of 
keeping it, and the cause of its occasioning explosion. 

Some inquiry being made as to what should be done with 
this report, the Chair suggested that delegates be appointed 
to the National Convention for the revision of the Pharma- 
copoeia, to present it there. 

Mr. Parrish thought it should be sent to that Convention 
without being printed. 

E. R. Squibb believed it should be printed, and believed 
the Committee of Revision would be glad to avail themselves 
of it. He . was not afraid of the proceedings making too 
large a volume. 

The Chair entertained similar views, and thought by having 
the report printed, the value of its suggestions would be 
tested by experiments. 

Mr. Carney alluded to the benefit that had been derived 
from printing of similar reports. 

Mr. Meakim thought the report should be published at once 
in a pamplilet form, and distributed through the country. 

After further remarks by Messrs. Procter, Garrigues, and 
Battey, the report was, on motion of Dr. Squibb, referred to 
the Executive Committee for publication, with discretion to 
omit any matter previously published in the proceedings, and 
to refer by note to such previously published matter. 


On motion of Edward Parrish, the subject of the place for 
holding the next Annual Meeting was taken up. 

Dr. Battej proposed Atlanta, Georgia, and advocated a 
meeting in the South, as a measure calculated to advance the 
progress of pharmaceutical information and interest in that 

Mr. Callan advocated St. Louis, Messrs. Coddington, Kier- 
stead, Squibb, Meakim and Procter, New York. 

Some arguments were advanced in favor of permanently 
localizing the meetings. 

The Chair was in favor of perpetuating its migratory 
character, as calculated to enlarge the sphere of usefulness of 
the Association. 

Mr. Fish, of Conn., gave notice, that at a future session 
he would offer a resolution, permanently locating the meet- 
ings of the Association in New York City. 

E. E. Squibb moved that when we adjourn, we adjourn to 
meet in New York. 

Mr. Callan, moved an amendment, by sul)stituting St. Louis 
for New York. The amendment was lost. 

Mr. Dix, moved to amend, by substituting Atlanta, Georgia. 
The amendment was lost. 

A motion to adjourn then prevailed. 

Afternoon Session. 

The Executive Committee presented the following names 
for election to membership. 

James Emerton, Salem, Mass. 
William H. Ware, Gloucester, Mass. 
James A. Gleeson, Boston, " 

Samuel H. Woods, " " 

Henry Warren, " " 

Rufus W. Stevens, Soraersworth, N. H. 
Alfred C. Dana, Providence, R. Island. 
Benjamin F. Johnson, Philadelphia. 
Lewis Dohme, Baltimore. 


A ballot was ordered; Messrs. Ilaviland and Buck, acting 
as tellers, reported all the above persons duly elected. 

Mr. Brewer, from the Committee appointed to cooperate 
with the Agricultural Department of the Patent Office, in 
introducing foreign medicinal plants, made the following re- 
port for Mr. Kidwell ; covering a voluminous correspondence 
between the Committee and officers connected with the Patent 
Office : — 

That according to instructions the annexed communication was addressed 
to the Agricultural Department of the Patent Office. The accompanying 
report from the Department is another evidence of the great interest they 
feel in our Association. Their entire willingness to cooperate with us gives 
assurance that any suggestions made by the Association relative to the intro- 
duction of other medicinal plants into our country will be cheerfully received. 

The Committee also addressed a communication to the Commissioner of 
Indian AiFairs, inviting the cooperation of his department. The annexed 
cii'cular was matured, as the most certain plan of obtaining the information 
desired, and was cheerfully printed by the Department and forwarded by the 
Commissioner to most of the Indian Agents. Although the information is 
meager, yet it is evidence of the wish of the Department to cooperate with 
the Association in their endeavors to obtain information in regard to the sub- 
jects referred. The Committee are assured that the Commissioner will for- 
ward to the Association any information having reference to the inquiries 
immediately on receipt at this office. 

Washington, D. C, March 12th, 1859. 
Agricultural Bureau, Patent Office, Washington, D. C. 
Sir : — At a meeting of the " American Pharmaceutical Association " con- 
vened in this city, in September last, the undersigned were constituted a 
Committee and instructed to draw up an application on behalf of the "Associ- 
ation " to your Bureau, for specimens of such medicinal roots, plants, or seeds 
capable of yielding plants, as may be deemed suitable for experimental cul- 
ture or analysis, to distribute such in parcels to the Secretaries of the Colleges 
of Pharmacy at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and 
elsewhere, with a request that these Colleges, &c., should transmit the results 
of their experiments through this Committee to the " Agricultural Bureau" 
at as early a day as practicable. In compliance with these instructions the 
undersigned place the matter before you and respectfully request your 
cooperation, with any information on the subject that in your opinion may be 
of interest or importance. 

Very Respectfully, 

John L. Kidwell, Georgetown, D. C. 

Thomas P. James, Philadelphia, Penn. 

William A. Brewer, Boston, Mass. 

F. S. Walsh, Washington, D. C. 


U. S. Patent Office, September 10th, 1859. 

Sir: — In compliance -with the request of a Committee appointed by the 
American Pharmaceutical Association, made on the 12th of March last, that 
this Office should furnish specimens of such medicinal roots, cuttings, or seeds 
capable of yielding plants, as maybe deemed suitable for experimental culture 
or analysis, with any information on the subject that may be considered of 
importance or interest, herewith I inclose a communication from Mr. D. J. 
Browne, which will show to what extent your Association may be supplied. 

By Adams & Co.'s Express I send you living specimens of the plants 
named in the accompanying list, all grown since the 1st of May last, from 
seeds or cuttings in the Propagating Garden connected with this Office. 
I have the honor to be. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
S. T. Shugert, 

Acting Commissioner. 

John L. Kidwell, President American Pharmaceutical Association, George- 
town, D. C. 

U. S. Patent Office, Sept. 10th, 1S59. 

Sir : — At the request of a Committee appointed by the American Phar- 
maceutical Association, in September, 1858, herewith I furnish a condensed 
account of the operations of this Office during the past year, so far as they 
relate to medicinal plants, and would suggest that said Association, at their 
next meeting, express some opinion as to the expediency of extending the 
introduction of such products yielding substances used in Pharmacy as would 
be likely to admit of profitable culture in any part of the territory of the 
United States. 

Among the objects undertaken by this Bureau which promise to be of 
moment, first may be mentioned the introduction of the Tea-plant. Towards 
the close of 1857, the services of Mr. Robert Fortune were secured, and on 
the 1st of March following, he proceeded from England by the overland route 
to the tea districts in the north of China, where he remained until April last. 
During his sojourn in that country, he procured a large quantity of the seeds 
of the tea-shrub, as well as those of other useful and ornamental plants, 
packed them in Wardian cases and shipped them to the United States, where 
they arrived in the course of the past Spring and Summer. In order to 
secure the safe propagation of these seeds, preparatory to their removal to 
the sites where the experiments are ultimately to be made, a portion of the 
public grounds in the City of Washington was set apart, thoroughly under- 
drained with tiles and two propagating houses erected thereon, each 10|^ feet 
in length, 25 feet wide and 25 feet high, in such positions and on such princi- 
ples as would afford an in-door climate adapted to their speedy germination 
and final development. These houses run north and south, so as to receive 


the natural effects of light in the morning and evening, but are screened dur- 
ing the middle portions of the day by sections of opaque roof from the intense 
rays of the sun. Instead of being warmed by fires, hot water, or steam, they 
are so arranged as to maintain a temperature, degree of moisture, and ventila- 
tion during the colder months of the year, suitable for propagating all half 
hardy trees and plants from seeds or otherwise by means of decomposing vege- 
table matter, covered with a due proportion of nitrogenous materials. The 
first of these houses was brought into requisition in January last. In order to 
generate a suitable temperature, the hot-beds were commenced by filling 
them to the depth of about a foot with the dried culms and leaves of the Chi- 
nese sugar-cane, which were then covered with fresh horse-manure some 10 
inches thick. After allowing these materials to ferment for about three 
weeks, so as to liberate a considerable amount of ammonia and other gases 
pernicious to vegetation, the house was ready for trial. It was observed that 
it was free from unpleasant odors, and from the middle of February to the 
end of May a temperature was usually maintained from 70° to 75° F., some- 
times as high as 90°, in the middle of warm, sunny days, but never lower, 
even at sunrise, than 55°. Waiting for the expected arrival from China, 
considerable quantities of the seeds of the El Paso grape, Cork oak, and other 
trees, as well as the cuttings and seeds of several other varieties of grapes 
and other products, were planted in boxes placed on these beds. With due 
attention to watering and ventilation, they all speedily germinated, and in a 
few weeks had grown sufficiently to be transferred into other boxes or pots, 
and subsequently removed out doors, where they continue vigorous and in a 
healthy condition. On the arrival of the seeds of the tea shrub, and other 
Chinese products, brought in the Wardian or glazed cases, at the end of 
April and subsequently, they were found to be in excellent order, many of 
them being well germinated and in a fit state for planting. Immediately after 
sowing in pots and boxes, they were daily watered, at night and morning, 
with rain water collected from the roofs of the houses, when obtainable, at 
other times from wells. The young seedlings promptly appeared, after which 
the waterings were less frequent. They gradually progressed in their growth, 
and at the present time, it is estimated that there are from 40,000 to 50,000 
tea plants, from six inches to two feet in height, and the experiment thus far 
bids fair to be crowned with success. 

The seeds of the Camphor Tree, (Laurus Camphora,) and of the Vegetable 
Wax Tree, (Rhus Succedanea,) — the latter from Japan — were somewhat 
limited in quantity, but the plants are in a fine growing state. 

In prosecuting the extension of the grape and wine culture in the United 
States, several thousand cuttings of the vines of Egypt were obtained and are 
now flourishing in one of the propagating houses, with the view of hybridizing 
them with the seedling native grapes growing at present on the adjacent 
grounds. It is conceived that an important advantage would be gained in 
propagating the American grapes from seeds, not only by producing improved 


varieties, but by fecundating their stigmas -with the pollen of the Black Ham- 
burg, Chasselas de Fontainebleau, AVhite Frontignan, White Muscat of Alex- 
andria, or other delicate varieties, the result of which would be a hybrid 
fruit. These, if cultivated, in most cases would probably produce a grape 
partaking of the properties of each of the parents, being hardier on the one 
hand, and of more delicate flavor on the other. 

In connection with the wine-culture, large quantities of the acorns of the 
Cork Tree, (Quercus suber,) were obtained, in January last from the south of 
Spain, most of which have been distributed in portions of our own territory, 
where it is believed they will thrive. Some of those sown in the propagating 
house attached to this Office, and subsequently planted out of doors, are now 
nearly 2| feet in height, are strong and vigorous, and will be exposed during 
next winter, with the view of testing their adaptation to the climate. 

The Melochia, {Corchorus Olilorious,') sometimes called "Mauve de Juif," 
is a celebrated pot-herb, long cultivated along the Nile and in the East, has 
succeeded well, and bears marks of maturing its seeds in this latitude. Its 
tender leaves and stalks abound in mucilage, even more than the capsules of 
the okra, (Hibiscus Esculentus) which renders it highly valuable for soups. 

The Wild Camomile, (Pyrethrum Caucasicum,') has matured its seeds this 
season in the open air, and doubtless will serve as a desirable acquisition in 
furnishing material for the powder so celebrated in the destruction of various 
insects and vermin. 

From the following extracts and correspondence between His Excellency, 
C. K. Buckalew, Minister Resident at Ecuador, and the Patent Office, it will 
be seen that measures have been taken to introduce from South Amer- 
ica the trees producing the Peruvian Bark. In a recent letter from His 
Excellency, received by the Honorable Jacob Thompson, Secretary of 
the Interior, he says, " I inclose the copy of a letter from Sir William J. 
Hooker, Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, addressed to 
Professor William Jameson, at Quito, relative to the introduction of the Cin- 
chona, or Peruvian-bark tree into the East Indies. The Dutch have suc- 
ceeded already in its introduction into Java, and the present attempt is in 
continuation of efforts heretofore made by the English. I am able to state, in 
addition to the contents of this letter, that the gentlemen referred to in it are 
about being engaged, and the enterprise will go on. 

" Cannot steps be taken at once for the introduction of this valuable tree into 
the United States ? It is becoming scarce in the Andes before the depreda- 
tions of the hunters, and may soon become nearly exterminated. In South- 
ern Ecuador the price has gone up from S40 per hundred to SI per pound. 

"It would doubtless flourish in California, and in many parts of our Southern 


Lellcr of Sir William J. Hooker. 

Royal Gardens, Kew, May ICth, 1859. 

I am greatly in liopes an arrangement will be made to employ ^Ir. Spruce 
and another gentleman, (Mr. Markham,) who will be sent out from England 
in September, in collecting Cinchona plants and seeds, and sending them, on 
a large scale, to our Indian possessions, as the Dutch have done to Java, 
■where, it is said, they are flourishing. 

I have strongly urged upon Lord Stanly and Sir James Weir ITogg, who 
consult me on behalf of the India Board to employ Mr. Spruce (so thoroughly 
competent, and now on the spot,) as well as Mr. Markham ; and fortunately 
Mr. Cope's and my letters to the Foreign Office on the subject have been laid 
before the Board and by this mail Mr. Cope will be written to requesting him 
to treat with Mr. Spruce and explain the particulars to him. If that is set- 
tled Mr. IMarkhain will probably procure the more southern kinds and ISIr. 
Spruce the northern. 

I have recommended that two practical gardeners be sent out, they to 
accompany the plants in a steamer to Calcutta (for the interior, probably 

Assam,) and Ceylon. 

Signed, W. J. Hooker. 

[The valuable correspondence of the U, S. Patent Office, and 
the report from the Office of the Interior Department, etc., will 
be found in full on page 385.] 

Several plants were also presented, which had been re- 
ceived from the Propagating Garden of the Patent Office, with 
a statement of the manner of germinating and cultivating 
them, viz. : — 

Wild Camomile (PyretJirum Cau- 
caffpum^, from Russia. 

Black Tea (21iea Bohea), from 

Camphor Tree (Laurus Camphora), 
from China. 

Melochia or Soap Plant (Corchouis 
Olitorious), from Egypt. 

Cork Oak (^Quercus Subcr), from 

Green Tea (Thea Viridis), from 

Wax Tree Plant (Rhus Succeda- 
nia), from Japan. 

These Reports were referred to the Executive Committee, 
and those parts requiring the action of the Association, to the 
Special Committee on Deferred Business. 


The Chair appoint<3d the Committee on Home Adultera- 
tions for the ensuing 3'car, as follows : — 

Charles T. Carney, of Boston, Chairman. 
Israel J. Grahame, Baltimore. 
Charles Bullock, Philadelphia. 
A. P. Sharp, Baltimore. 
E. R. Squibb. New York. 
E. S. Wa3'ne, Cincinnati. 

The reading of papers on subjects referred last year was 
resumed ; the following were read and referred to the Exec- 
utive Committee. 

Query 16th. " On fitting up and ornamenting Drug Stores." 
By Frederick Hale, of -New York. Page 313. 

Query 17. " On the action of Oxide of Silver with organic 
matter." By Ambrose Smith, of Philadelphia, Page 308. 

Query 18. '' On Polygalic Acid, and its desirability as a 
substitute for preparations of Senega." By Wm. Procter, Jr., 
of Philadelphia. Page 297. 

Query 19. '" On the Bark of the Larix Americana." H. 
T. Cummings remarked that his engagements had prevented 
attention to the subject. On motion. Dr. Cummings was 

Query 1. " On the best means of keeping the Vegetable Ex- 
tracts." An answer to this question was read by Israel J. 
Grahame, of Baltimore. 

Query 20. " On New England Carrageen." Mr. Carney 
stated that unavoidable circumstances had prevented Mr. 
Melzar from giving attention to the subject. By request it 
was continued to Mr. Melzar for another year. 

Query 21. " On the Culture of Crocus Sativus in this 
country." Mr. Garrigucs reported for Mr. F. L. Johns, that 
the culture of the plant had been abandoned, and that Mr. 
Johns had r.o farther report to make. 

Query 22. " On the destruction of the Alkaloids of Bel- 
ladonna and Hyoscyamus by Potash." No answer was re- 
ceived from R. H. Stabler. 


Query 23. " Statistics of the manufacture of fine Chemicals 
in England, for exportation to the United States." Mr. Havi- 
land informed the Association that he had been unable to 
obtain the necessary information. 

Query 24. "On the Drug Trade of the United States." 
No answer was received from C. B. Guthrie. 

Query 25. " On the nature of the yellow matter associated 
with Cantharidin." By request this subject was continued to 
Mr. John M. Maisch. 

Query 27. " On the purgative power of the marc of Cas- 
tor beans." No report was received from R. H. Stabler. 

Query 28. " On Cornus Florida." A paper on this subject 
from J. M. Maisch, of Philadelphia, was read by Samuel 
S. Garrigucs. Page 315. 

Query 29. "On the relative Therapeutic value of im- 
ported and indigenous medicinal plants." A report on this 
subject, by Henry A. Tilden, of New Lebanon, New York, was 
read by Edward Parrish. Page 325. 

The following report was received from the Committee on 
Statistics of Importation of Drugs, &c. : — 

The Committee to whom was referred the subject of Suppression of Re- 
ports of the Importations of Drugs and Chemicals, have attended to the 
subject, and beg leave to report the accompanying Petition, to be forwarded 
by the President of this Association to the Secretary of the Treasury of 
the United States. And which they would respectfully submit to the Asso- 

Jonx D. Dix. 

Wm. a. Brewer. 

William Procter, Jr. 

Rooms of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, 
Boston, Sept. 15, 1859. 
To the Hon. the Secretary of the Treasurtj of the United States : 

Sir : — The undersigned, in behalf and by direction of the American 
Pharmaceutical Association, now assembled in this place, respectfully repre- 
sent : That in a paper called the " Druggists Circular," issued in New 
York City, there has been published for a considerable time, a schedule of 
Drugs and Chemicals, imported from time to time into said port, prepared 


under the direction, and by authority of the Drug Inspector for that District. 
And that said publications ha^'e been discontinued, as your petitioners have 
reason to believe, by Instruction from your Department, under representa- 
tions of their disadvantageous influence to the interests of importers of such 
commodities : 

That, after a full discussion of the subject in this Association, embracing 
gentlemen engaged In the Drug business as Importers and otherwise. It is 
believed that such publications cannot be Injurious to the Interests of the 
great body o 1 importers of Drugs and Chemicals. That such publications 
are greatly subservient to the investigations of statisticians and societies for 
diffusing useful and commercial knowledge, &c., &c. 

You are therefore respectfully requested to remove the prohibition, and 
permit, not only the resumption of such publications In New York, but per- 
mit them also in all the ports of entry throughout the country, with such 
restrictions as to names of Importers as in your judgment may be deemed 
advisable. And as in duty bound, will ever pray. 

Samuel M. Colcord, 
President American Pharmaceutical Association. 

The Petition was adopted, and the President of the 
Association directed to forward it to the Secretary of the 

On motion of Wm. A. Brewer, it was directed that the 
plants received from the Patent Office be placed in the care 
of Prof. Asa Gray, of the Cambridge Botanical Garden. 

The answers to referred subjects were resumed, as fol- 
lows : — 

Query 30. '' On the culture of Arnica Flowers in this 
country." A verbal report from Henry A. Tilden, of New 
Lebanon, was made by Edward Parrish, to the effect, that 
Mr. Tilden had threshed several bushels of flowers, without 
being able to obtain any seed of the plant. 

Mr. Dix, of New York, offered to obtain for the Associa- 
tion, if desired, the seed of Arnica, or other German medi- 
cinal plants. Mr. Dix said that in the United States, the 
culture of Arnica would not be profitable, on account of the 
high wages of labor. 


Query 31. " On Pepsin." By Alexander H. Cushman, of 
New York. Page 319. 

On motion, adjourned to 9 o'clock, on Friday morning. 

Friday Morning, Sept. 16, 1859. 

The Association was called to order, by Wm. Procter, Jr., 
of Philadelphia, Vice President, in the absence of the Presi- 
dent, Mr. Colcord. 

Mr. H. F. Fish, of Conn., offered the following resolution : — 

Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed to consider the pro- 
priety of holding Annual Sessions in the cities of New York, Philadelphia' 
Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, successively, in each year, and also the 
appointment of a permanent Secretary at Washington, D. C. 

On motion, the resolution was laid on the table. 

The reading of answers to referred subjects was resumed, 
as follows : — 

Query 32. '' On improved formula for Fluid Extracts." 
Wm. Procter, Jr., of Philadelphia, read a paper on this 
subject, accompanied with thirty-three specimens of Fluid 
Extracts. Page 265. 

Edward Parrish, offered the following resolution, which 
was adopted. 

Resolved, That the subject of offering Prizes for Scientific papers and Essays 
of Merit, to be read at the next Annual Meeting, be referred to the Executive 
Committee, "with power to offer such prizes through the Pharmaceutical 
Journals, as they may determine upon. 

Query 33. " On the extent of the culture and production 
of sugar, from the Sorghum Saccharatum, within the United 
States," &c. Robert Battey, of Rome, Georgia, read a re- 
port on this subject. Page 300. 

The following resolution, offered by Charles Ellis, of Phila- 
.delphia, was unanimously adopted. 


Resolved, That an elegantly bound presentation copy of the New London 
Edition of Pareira's, Materia Medica, be procured by the Executive Com- 
mittee, and presented, on behalf of the " American Pharmaceutical Associa- 
tion," to Professor "William Procter, Jr., for his valuable Essay on the Fluid 

Query 34. "Was withdrawn. 

Query 35. " On the culture of the Grape in Missouri," &c. 
No answer from Mr. Leitch. 

Query 36. " On Liquor Fcrri lodidi." The Chair re- 
marked that the paper on this subject had been received from 
W. J. M. Gordon, of Cincinnati, and had been mislaid, but 
would be furnished the Executive Committee. Page 289. 

Query 37. [This question was continued from last year, 
to Mr. Peck, since deceased.] 

Query 38. " On the best vehicle for disguising the taste 
of Quinia," &c. No answer from Mr. Payne. 

Query 26. " On the odor of Yanilla." A verbal report 
was made by S. S. Garrigues. 

Query 4. " On Mustard," &c. A paper was read on this 
subject by Edward Parrish, of Philadelphia. Page 283. 

The answers to referred subjects having been gone through 
with, two volunteer papers were offered by F. Stearns, of 
Detroit, from Mr. Zimmerman, of Cincinnati, on the use of 
Catawba Wiue and Brandy in Pharmacy. Page 377. 

The papers were referred to the Executive Committee. 
Robert Battey called up the subject of the place for the next 
Annual Meeting, and advocated Dr. Squibb's motion for New 

Charles Ellis moved to substitute Columbia, S. C. After 
some discussion, the amendment was withdrawn. 

The question being called for on the original motion of 
Dr. Squibb, for New York, it was carried. 


Alfred B. Taylor, of Philadelphia, offered the following 
Preamble and Resolution : — 

Whereas, The generous hospitality of the members of this Association, 
resident in the several localities at which meetings have been heretofore held, 
has been extended into an habitual degree of extravagance which has occa- 
sioned uneasiness among some members of the Association, especially in 
view of the migratory character contemplated in its organization ; therefore, 

Resoloed, That we would respectfully deprecate such demonstrations, and 
hope that hereafter they may be discontinued, believing that by their con- 
tinuance we shall be prevented from meeting in many places, where other- 
wise we might assemble with very great advantage to ourselves, individually, 
as well as to the places visited and the Association. 

Mr. Parrish seconded the resolve, and after speaking of 
the generous hospitality extended to them in Boston, said he 
wanted the thing to stop here, so that they could go to small 
places without incumbering the few brethren there with the 
burden of entertaining them, when they were better able to 
entertain themselves. 

Mr. Cushman, of New York, was opposed to the resolve, 
and thought these entertainments were very useful in making 
members acquainted with each other. 

Mr. Garrigues expressed similar views, and the resolve was 
supported by Messrs. Meakim and Squibb, of New York, 
Battey, of Georgia, and Procter, of Philadelphia. 

Dr. Squibb moved that the resolution lie over till next 

It was voted to amend the resolution by substituting 
resolve for Ao/^e, and shall for may. The resolution, as altered, 
now reading. 

Resolved, That we would respectfully deprecate such demonstrations, and 
resolve, that hereafter they shall be discontinued, believing that by their 
continuance we may be prevented from meeting, &c., &c. 

The resolution as thus amended was, under the motion of 
Dr. Squibb, allowed to lie over till next year. 


Reading of volunteer papers, being resumed, 

1st. A paper from John M. Maiscli, of Philadelphia, " On the 
behavior of essential oils to Iodine and Bromine," was par- 
tially read by Samuel Garrigues, and referred to the Executive 
Committee for publication. Page 338. 

The Executive Committee reported the following names 
for membership. 

John J. Toner, Wilmington, Del. 
E. A. Pond, Rutland, Vermont. 

A ballot was ordered; Messrs. Buck and Haviland, acting 
as tellers, reported both gentleman elected. 

2d. Edward Parrish, of Philadelphia, read a short paper 
from Henry A. Tilden, of New Lebanon, describing a new 
powdering apparatus, accompanied by photographic views. 

On motion, the Executive Committee were directed to pro- 
cure a wood cut, and insert the description in the pro- 
ceedings. Page 384. 

3d. Mr. Cushman, of New York, read a paper '^ On a new 
apparatus for inhalation," with specimens of the apparatus. 
The subject of publishing papers containing accounts of pa- 
tented articles, mechanical or otherwise, was discussed. It 
was the sense of the Association, that the Executive Com- 
mittee should not publish such communications. 

4th. Isaac Coddington, of New York, read a paper " On the 
influence of isomerism, on therapeutic power," which was 
referred to the Executive Committee. Page 373. 

5th. Dr. Wilson H. Pile, of Philadelphia, read a paper on 
the specific gravities of water at different temperatures, which 
was referred, Avith the tables, to the Executive Committee, 
for publication. Mr. Colcord having arrived, resumed the 

6th. A paper from Ferdinand F. Mayer, of New York, " On 
Liq. Ferri lodidi, and the tests for iodine," was read by 
Wm. Procter, Jr., and referred to the Executive Committee. 
Pai^e 368. 


7th. Prof. Thurber, of New York, exhibited specimens of 
the plant producing Florida arrow root, (Zaniia integrifolia,) 
and made a verbal communication on the subject. 

On motion, Prof. Thurber was requested to embody his 
remarks in a paper, for publication in the Proceedings. 

8th. T. Chapman Hill presented living specimens of Can- 
tharis Atrata, sometimes confounded with cantharis bisatta. 
E. Parrish made some remarks on the character of the fly, 
stating that Dr. Leidy, of Philadelphia, had pointed out the 
fact that the vesicating power of the insect resided in the 
genital organs. Mr. Hill promised a paper on the subject 
next year, with a view of ascertaining whether they can be 
substituted for the officinal Spanish fly. 

9th. Alexander Cushmau, of New York, read a paper " On 
the comparative analysis of Price's and American Glycerine." 
The paper was referred to the Executive Committee. Page 383. 

The Committee to bring forward subjects for investigation 
next year, ofiFered the following list. 

The questions not accepted or referred, were left at the 
disposition of the Executive Committee, to have them accepted 
if possible by members not present at the meeting. 

The Committee to whom was referred the preparation of 
a list of subjects for investigation the ensuing year, report 
the following : — 

1. Have we an indigenous vesicating agent, or agents, which may be ad- 
vantageously substituted for the imported cantharides ? 

Accepted hij William H. Warner, of Rome, Georgia. 

2. It is alleged that commercial citric acid contains a variable amount of 
water of crystallization, according to the temperature at which it is crystal- 
lized, and that it is adulterated with tartaric acid. — Query ? Is this true ; 
if so, does the variation materially affect the value of the acid? and what is 
the best practical test for the demonstration of the presence of tartaric acid, 
for commercial use? Accepted hij Charles T. Carney, of Boston. 

3. What proportion of asonitia does the commercial aconite root yield by 
the process of Headland, (noted in the U. H. Dispensatory,) and what impuri- 
ties remain in it not separated by the process ? 

Accepted by I. J. Grahame, of Baltimore. 


4. The subject of the production of alcohol in the United States, viewed in 
reference to its manufacture from various sources, its commerce, its impuri- 
ties, adulterations and tests of purity, and the statistics of its commercial 
relations. Accepted by Frederick Steams, of Detroit. 

5. Several varieties of garlic are in use in Philadelphia, and other parts 
of the country. Query. — Are these modifications of the same plant, or are 
they distinct species ? Referred to Prof. Robert P. Thomas, of Philadelphia. 

6. Aloin as discovered by T. and H. Smith, of Edinburgh, has been intro- 
duced into therapeutics. Question. — What is the best and most practicable 
process for its minufacture on a considerable scale ; and Avhat are the best 
tests for its purity as a commercial substance ? 

Accepted by E. Parrish, of Philadelphia. 

7. The sulphate of ammonia derived from gas liquor, is now used by some 
manufacturers for preparing liquor ammonia, and other ammoniacal prepara- 
tions of free ammonia. Question. — What are the advantages and disad- 
vantages of using this salt instead of sal ammoniac ? 

Accepted by Cliarles Bullock, of Philadelphia. 

8. The camomile flowers of commerce are occasionally attacked by an 
insect and greatly injured in value, and it is alleged that flowers of a chry- 
santhemum and of another genus, are sometimes found admixed as an adulter- 
ation in France. Question. — What is the best means of destroying the insect 
without injury to the flowers ; and what are the adulterations of this drug as 
found in American commerce ? 

Accepted by Frederick L. John, of Philadelphia. 

9. What is the active principle of arnica flowers ; and what the best 
process for isolating it ? 

Accepted by Dr. Henry T. Cumminys, of Portland, Me. 

10. What is the best process for preparing assafoetida plaster so as to pre- 
serve the activity of the drug unimpaired ? 

Accepted by William Procter, Jr., of Philadelphia. 

11. The Atropa Belladonna is largely grown at New Lebanon for the 
preparation of the officinal extract. Question. — Can the root of that plant, 
as grown there, be employed advantageously as a source of atropia '? 

Accepted by William Procter, Jr., of Philadelphia. 

12. Japanese vegetable wa.x derived from the Rhus succedaneum has 
been introduced into commerce. Question. — What are the qualities of this 
substance, as compared with bees-wax ; and how far may it be used as a sub- 
stitute for that substance in pharmacy ? 

Accepted by James S. Melvin, of Boston. 


13. Paraffin has been suggested by Mr. Wayne, of Cincinnati, as a substi- 
tute for wax in cerates. Question. — Are there any therapeutic objections to 
this substitution ; and if not, in what proportion should it be used as a sub- 
stitute for wax in cerate ? 

Accepted hy Charles T. Carney, of Boston. 

14. To what extent is carrageen collected on the coast of New England 

for the supply of commerce ? 

Accepted hy A. P. Melzar. 

15. Conium maculatum has become naturalized in New England and 
New York. Question. — Can the seeds be collected in sufficient quantity for 
the preparation of conia as an article of commerce ? 

Accepted hy Henry F. Fish, of Water-bury, Conn. 

16. What are the adulterations of saffron as found in the commerce of the 
United States, and by what tests may they be distinguished ? 

Accepted by J. D. Dix, of New York. 

17. Cubebs are occasionally adulterated with a capsular berry, different 
from cubebs in appearance, and which, it is said, is done at Singapore. 
Question. — What plant yields this berry, and what are the properties of the 
berry as compared to cubebs ? 

Accepted by Prof. George Thurber, of New York. 

18. What proportion of digitalin can be procured from American grown 
digitalis ; and are its properties identical with the imported digitalin ? 

Accepted by S. S. Garrirjues, of Philadelphia. 

19. Can elaterium be profitably produced in the United States? AVhat 
soil and situations are most favorable to the development of the plant ; and 
how does the elaterium produced compare with the best European drug? 

Accepted by Henry A. Tdden, of New Lebanon, N. Y. 

20. Is there an ergotized substance developed on Indian corn (Zea-mays) ; 
and if so, has it properties analogous to those of rye and wheat ergot ? 

Accepted by Prof Thurber, of New York. 

21. What is the best test of the therapeutical value of extract of Indian 

hemp, that may be applied by the apothecary, without resorting to its internal 

exhibition ? 

Accepted by Edward Parrish, of Philadelphia. 

22. What is the active principle of gillenia trifoliata, and is it an alkaloid 

or neutral principle ? 

For general acceptance. 

23. The commercial history, production, and statistics of extract of liquorice, 

including its several sources ? 

Accepted hy John D. Dix, of New York. 


24. What are the claims of guaiac (Resina guaiaci,) to be considered a 

balsam ? 

Accepted by Wm. Procter, Jr., of Philadelphia. 

25. What are the changes which occur in the officinal ethereal oil, 
(U. S. P.) by keeping ; and can these changes be retarded ? 

Accepted by E. R. Squibb, of New York. 

26. Are the salts of morphia of present commerce, different in medicinal 
power from those formerly manufactured ; and if so, to what cause is it to be 
attributed ? Accepted by E. R. Squibb, of New York. 

27. Has the average morphia strength of commercial opium from Smyrna 
depreciated from its earlier value ; and if so, to what extent ? 

Accepted by P. Wendover Bedford, of New York. 

28. Several species of Krameria (Krameria lanceolata and K. canescent, 
&c.,) are abundant in Texas and other parts of the Southwest. Question. 
— Can these roots be substituted for the officinal Krameria triandra ? 

Accepted by Prof. George Thurber, of New York. 

29. It has been asserted that hops that have been used in obtaining the 
lupuline of commerce, are afterwards sold as hops. Question. — Is the asser- 
tion true ; and if so, to what extent is it carried on ? where ? and what are 
the best means of detecting the fraud ? 

Accepted by Charles A. Tufts, of Dover, N. H. 

30. Patents, In their relation to pharmacy and medicine. 

Accepted by Edward Parrish, of Philadelphia. 

31. An inquiry as to the comparative value of the Georgia, St. Vincent's, 
derived from Maranta arundinaceas, Bermuda, and other arrow roots. 
Whether there is any distinctive characteristics arising from climate, soil, 
mode of preparation, or any other causes that would give a preference to 
either. Accepted by Evan T. Ellis, of Philadelphia. 

32. The seed of the helianthus annual (sunflower,) is a domestic remedy 
for cough. It is also used for the heaves in horses. Question. — Do the 
seeds possess the virtue ascribed to them ; if so, to what principle existing 
in them is their medicinal power to be attributed ? and does the principle 
exist in other portions of the plant ? 

Accepted by A. Cushman, of New York. 

33. European pharmacy, what are the chief differences and points of 
resemblance between it and our own ? 

Accepted by Robert Battey, of Rome, Georgicu 


34. What is the most eligible method of keeping camphor in the form of 
powdef ? Accepted by H. F. FLh, Walerhurj Cunn. 

35. An essay on the Guarana of Brazil. 

Accepted by Henry F. Fish, of Waterhury, Conn. 

86. An essay on the products resulting from the distillation of bituminous 
coal and allied substances. 

Referred to and accepted by Wrn. II. Whitmore, of Boston. 

37. What are the principal sources of oil of sassafras, its mode of manu- 
facture, and the quantity produced annually ? 

Accepted by A. P. Sharp, of Baltimore. 

38. What are the principal sources of Pink root and Seneca root, the prob- 
able amount collected annually, and the general character of the roots as 
brought into the markets from the various sources ? 

Accepted by Lewis F. Dohme, of Baltimore. 

39. The American species of the genus cantharis as regards their useful- 
ness in medicine as vesicants, their existing quantity ia view of the supply of 
commerce, and other information regarding them ? 

Accepted by F. Chapman Hill, of rhiladclphia. 

40. We have an indigenous plant called Pynilania oleifera, the fruit of 
which yields a large amount of fixed oil. Query. — Can this oil be applied to 
pharmaceutical purposes, and can the plant be pro2)agated to advantage for 
the production of oil ? 

Accepted by S. S. Garrigues, of Philadelphia. 

41. What are the relative properties of the new Resin of Scammony, pre- 
pared from the dried roots, and the best varieties of commercial virgin scam- 
mony ? 

Accepted by I. J. Grahame, of Baltimore. 

42. The cacao nut (Theobroma Cacao) ; the history of Its culture, products, 
and uses, in medicine and domestic economy ? 

Continued from last year, by request, to Edwd. Donnelly, M. D., Philadelphia. 

43. What is the best form of press and pressing-box for the pharmaceutical 
laboratory on a moderate scale, combining great power with simplicity and 
easy manipulation ? The answer to be accompanied by a correct drawing. 

Continued from last year, by request, to Edward R. Squibb, New York. 

44. What is the form and material for a still for the pharmaceutist, of from 


two to four gallons' capacity, capable of being heated by gas or stove heat» 
which shall combine economy with efficiency and fiiness. 

Continued froin last i/ear, hjj request, to EJwatd R. Squibb, New York. 
Respectfully submitted. 

William Procter, Jr. 
Frederick Stearns. 
Charles T. Carney. 
Israel J. Grahame. 

The Committee to audit the Treasurer's Account reported — 

" That the Committee for that purpose have examined the account of S. M. 
Colcord, Treasurer, with the vouchers presented, showing a balance in his 
hands due the Association of $231^^^^, and are satisfied that the same is cor- 

'• On behalf of the Committee, Charles Ellis. 

John Meakim. 

On motion, a vote of thanks was presented to tlie late 
Treasurer, Samuel M. Colcord, for his services. 

The subject of members in arrears with their annual dues 
caused some discussion. 

Daniel S. Jones, of Philadelphia, offered the following reso- 
lution : — 

^'■Resolved — That when any member of this Association shall have been 
in arrears three years, after having been annually notified of such arrearage 
by the Treasurer, his name shall be reported to the Executive Committee in 
connection with such arrearage. The Executive Committee shall then for- 
ward to such member a copj' of this resolution, and, after waiting a due time 
for reply, shall strike his name from the roll of members, and report their 
action in their succeeding annual report." 

As the present rules of the Association were thought to 
cover the ground of the resolution of Mr. Jones, it was with- 

On motion of Samtiel S. Garrigues, of Philadelphia, the 
Treasurer was directed to publish the names of members in 
arrears for three years. 

Ambrose Smith, of Philadelphia, late Corresponding Secre- 
tary, offered the following resolution, which was adopted: — 

^^Resolced — That the Corresponding Secretary be directed to reply to the 
communication of the Swiss Pharmaceuiical Society, at Shaufhawzer, express- 
ing our acknowledgment of their good wishes, and reciprocating their broth- 
erly feelings, etc. ; and to inform them that as our scope of organ'zation does 


not enable us to enter into exchanges of botanical specimens, vre -will refer so 
much of their communication as relates to this matter, to the Philadelphia 
College of Pharmacy." 

The Committee on Specimens made the following report, 
which was referred to the Executive Committee : — 

The Committee appointed to examine and report upon the articles sent for 
exhibition before the American Pharmaceutical Association respectfully 
report — 

That they find a large and interesting collection of chemicals, pharmaceu- 
tical preparations, and apparatus, intended for the use and convenience of 
pharmaceutists. The appearance and quality have attracted much notice and 
commendation from the members in attendance, are eminently creditable to 
the exhibitors generally, and afford a gratifying evidence of the progress of 
pharmacy and its collateral arts and sciences. To discriminate and determine 
intelligently the relative merits of many of the similar articles deposited by 
different manufacturers would be a difficult task under any circumstances, 
and, Avith the limited time and opportunity afforded the Committee, simply 
impossible for them. They, therefore, confine themselves to making up a list 
of the articles, -with the names of the exhibitors and manufacturers, which 
they have endeavored to render as complete as possible, in order that it may 
be placed upon record. 


From Powers &Weightman, Philadelphia. — Qninias Sulph.,Morphise Sulph., 
Chloroform, Ferri et Magnesia Citras, Oxide of Zinc, Ferri Citras, Zinci 
Acetas, Ammonia, Nitras fus., Calcis. Phosphas. Precip., Potass. Acetas, Am- 
monia Oxalis, Po'assa fus, Barytas Murias., Zinci Lactas, Ammonia Hypo- 
phosphas Cryst., Barytae Nitras, Zinci Lactas, Cadmii Bromid. and lodid., 
Ammon. Valer., Quiniaj Valerianas, Zinci Cyanuret, Morphife Acetas, 
Theine, Argenti Nitras., Cinchonia, Sal Rochelle, Ferri Sulphas., Anti- 
monii and Potassse Tartras. 

From H. T. Cummings, Portland. — Spt. iEther Nitras, and Spt. Athens 
S. Comp. 

From B. J. Crew & Co., Philadelphia. — Hypophosphites of Lime, of Soda, 
and Ammonia, Liebig's Cyanide of Potass., Citrate of Potassa, Gallic Acid, 
Cyanide of Bismuth, Ferri et Ammonije Citras, Chloroform. 

From Tilden & Co., New York. — Eclectic Resinoid Preparations, such as 
Podophylin, Sanguinarin, Corydalin, &c., amounting to forty diff'erent prepar- 
ations, one hundred and twenty-five different fluid extracts, twelve bottle of 
sugar-coated pills, and granules. 

From H. Thayer & Co., Cambridge, Mass. — Large specimens of fluid ex- 
tracts of Calysaya Bark, Turkey Rhubarb, Cotton Root, Stpiills, Ipecac, 
Golden Seal, Buchu, and some twelve smaller samples of other fluid extracts 
of medicinal plants. 



From Charles T. Carney, Boston. — Solution Citrate of Magnesia, Ter- 
sulphate, and other preparations of iron, Compd. Syrup of the Hypophos- 
phites, Tine. Cinchonie Ferrata. 

Mr. Carney also has deposited samples of the preparations of the Portland 
Kerosene Oil Co., including Farafine, in mass and candles, Kerosene Illum- 
inating Oil, Kerosene for removing grease, &c., and samples of wines and 
brandy from native grapes of New England, manufactured by E. Paige & 
Co., Mass. ; also, American wines and cider, manufactured by S. 11. Allen, 
Esq., Shrewsbury. Mass. 

From Charles H. Atwood, Importer. — Specimens of fine chemicals, in- 
cluding Iodine, Acetate of Potass, Iodide and Bromide of Potas-', Valerianate 
of Quinine, Dextrine, samples of Essential Oils, &c. ; also, labelled shop-bot- 
tles, and jars for shop furniture. 

From Robert Battey, of Rome, Geo. — Sorgho Brandy, from Sugar of 
Sorghum. This is a new and interesting spirit, more analogous, perhaps, to 
rum than to brandy ; and it can be afforded, we understand, at a low price, 
and is free from fusel oils, and is likely to become valuable for many uses. 

From J. W. Norcross & Co., Importers, Boston. — Plasters, Quevenne's 
Iron, Adhesive Plaster, Patent Lint, Sponge Gloves, and Fancy Articles. 
Book of Pharmac. Labels, issued by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. 

From E. R. Squibb, of New York. — Ext. Coloc. Comp., in mass and in 
powder, Pil. H) drargyri, iEther, Sp. Ammon. Arom., Liq. Ferri, Persesqui- 
nitrat, Chloroform, Sp. .Ether S. C, Sp. J3ther Nitr., .Ether Fortior, Liq. 
Fen-i lod., Ferri et Quinia? Citras, Ammonire et Ferri Sulphas, Ferri et 
Ammonia Citras, Bismuthi Sub Nitras and Sub Carb., Ferri et AmmonijB 
Citras, Hydrargc. cum Cretje, Ferri Sub Carb., Ferri Persulph., Pulv. Ipecac 
et Opii, Pulv. Rhei, Pulv. Doveri, a case containing a bottle of solution Per- 
sulph. of Iron, and a bottle of Aqua Ammonia, in the proper proportion for 
extemporaneously preparing the Hydrated Sesqui Oxide of Iron, for use as 
an antidote. 

From E. Blatchford, Rockport, Mass. — Hake, Haddock, and Cod Liver 
Oil, and Crude Isinglass, the dry swimming bladder from which New Eng- 
land Isinglass is prepared. 


From Chas. T. Carney, Boston. — An arrangement of apparatus for " Hy- 
drotimetrie," or the quantitative determination of the proportions of matters 
held in solution in the waters of springs and rivers. 

From Wm. F. Shaw, Boston. — Patent Gas Stoves and heaters, various 
sizes and styles, with flexible connecting tubes for attaching to ordinary gas 

From H. D. Lockwood, Charlestown, Mass. — Davidson's Elastic Syringe, 
manufactured by him. 


From Lewis & Richardson, Boston. — Various styles of Lewis's Elastic and 
Pump Syringes. 

From W. H. Pile, Philadelphia. — Specific Gravity Bottles, Thermometers 
for chemical purposes, Urinometers, Hydrometers, for heavy and light liquids. 

From Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. — Labelled Glass Tincture Bottles 
and Specie Jars, Opaque Glass-covered Jars for shop furniture. 

From E. Kendall, New Lebanon Springs. — Aneroid Barometer. 

From Codman & ShurtleflT, Boston. — English Catheters, Nursing Bottles' 
Ear TruQipets, Pocket Cases for Medicines, Dental Files, Speculums, Gal- 
vanic Batteries. 

From the New England Glass Co. — A Glass Show-Mortar. (Silvered 

From Fairbanks & Co., Boston. — Prescription and Counter Scales for 
Druggists' use, and Letter Scales. 

From J. P. Hall. — An old bell-metal Mortar, cast in 1G41, of good style 
and shape, and in very good preservation. Interesting from its antiquity. 

Respectfully submitted. 

Ambrose Smith, 
George Tiiurber, 
A. P. Sharp, [ 

W. Procter, Jr., J 
Boston, Sept. 15, 1859. 

The report of the Committee on Deferred Business being 
called up, Edward Parrisli offered the following resolution, 
which was adopted : 

Resolved, That a change in the Constitutional provision as to eligibilty to 
membership, introduced in the address of the retiring President (in the second 
session) and since reported on by the Committee, to whom that address was 
referred, be referred to the meeting next year. 

Wm. Proctor, Jr., offered the following resolution, which 
was adopted : 

Resolve'!, That in future meetings of the Association, it will greatly keep 
up the interest of the sessions, if it be determined to make the reading of 
scientific papers to proceed parallel with the other business. 

Mr. Carney, chairman of the Executive Committee, wished 
to know the feeling of the Association on the subject of pub- 
lishing the reports and papers referred to the Eexecutive Com- 
mittee ; whether all the papers should be published in full, or 
abstracts made from some; and where the Committee should 


look for the necessary funds to defray expenses, if all the 
matter was puljlished. 

Mr. Carney was in favor of publishing all the papers, with- 
out abridtrment, as matter of great interest. The President 
thought the funds of the Association would be found insuffi- 
cient to publish the proceedings in full, and the Executive 
Committee would find themselves in difficulty when they began 
to look about for a publisher. The subject was discussed by 
Messrs. Carney, Parrish, Hegeman, Graharae, Colcord and 
Squibb. Dr. Squibb moved to meet any deficiency in the funds 
of the Publishing Committee by an assessment of the members. 
The motion was lost. 

Mr. Hegeman, of Xcw York, ofi"ered the following preamble 
and resolution, which was adopted : 

Whereas the Executive Committee feel considerable doubt as to the funds 
in hand being sufficient to meet the expenses of publication of the proceed- 
ings of the present session, therefore it is 

Resolved, That they have, at as early date as pi-acticable, as estimate made 
upon the cost of the same, and if the amount is deficient,.immediately to issue 
to the members a circular, stating the amount required and requesting a con- 
tribution for the object. And, in case the amount raised should prove more 
than necessary, it shall be credited to the publishing account. . 

The following resolution, offered by Robert Battey, of Geor- 
gia, was unanimously adopted : 

Resolved, That the hearty thanks of the Association are due, and cordially 
tendered to the members of the JIassachusetts College of Pharmacy for the 
very munificent and brotherly manner in which they have entertained us 
during our present session. 

On motionof Edward Parrish, the following resolution was 

unanimously adopted : 

Resolved, That the thanks of the Association are due to the proprietors of 
the newspapers who have reported our proceedings at so much length, and 
especially to the reporters, to whose zeal and ability we owe so faithful an ac- 
count of our proceedings. 

On motion of Mr. Kiersted, of New York, the thanks of the 
Association were tendered to the President, Secretary and 
Treasurer, for their services during the session. 


On motion of Mr. Kiersted, the late acting President, Dr. 
Battey was requested to furnish a copy of his address to be 
incorporated in the proceedings. 

On motion of Edward Parish, it was directed that any paper 
whicli had not come to hand, be referred to the Executive Com- 

The President asked permission to add to the Committee 
appointed to obtain an act of incorporation from Congress — 
after the close of the session. 

On motion of E. R. Squibb, the President was empowered 
to add to, remodel, or fill vacancies in any of the appointed 
committees during the recess. 

The Committee on Act of Incorporation was afterwards 

remodelled as follows — 

Edward H. Rollins, 
James N. Call ax, 
Wm. a. Browx, 
John L. Kidwell, 
Henry T. Kiersted, 
F. S. Walsh, 
Edward R. Squibb, 
R. H. Stabler. 

The Chair returned thanks for tlic courtesy received at the 
hands of the Association. 

The minutes were read and approved ; and on motion, the 
Association adjourned to meet in the city of New York on the 
second Tuesday in September, 1860, at 3 o'clock, P. M. 

C. BULLOCK, Secretary. 




The Committee appointed at Washington last year to 
prepare a record of the progress of Pharmacy during the then 
ensuing year, offer the following as their Report; but before 
entering upon the details it embraces, it is proper to state 
that the recommendation of the Committee of 1857 to make 
the notices critical, as well as merely historical, was duly con- 
sidered, but not accepted for the reason that to do so would 
have extended the report much beyond the proper limits of 
such a paper, under the present circumstances of the Associa- 
tion. The Committee believe that the very condensed notices 
of discoveries and improvements in Pharmacy, and the sci- 
ences allied to it, will, by affording a suggestive bird's-eye 
view within a small space, accompanied as it is by careful 
references to the authorities, prove more useful than an 
abridgement of the papers. 


Anthcmis cotula. — William H. Warner, (Amcr. Jour. Pharm., 
Sept., 1858, p. 388,) has made a proximate analysis of this 
plant, and found oxalic, valerianic, and tannic acids, chloro- 
phylle, albumen, acrid oleo-resin, bitter extractive volatile oil, 
and salts of potassa, lime, magnesia and iron. The vesicant 
power of the bruised fresh plant is probably due to the oleo- 

Matico. — John J. Stell, Jr., in an inaugural essay presented 
to the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, March, 1858, (see 


Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1858,) has repeated the analysis of 
this drug. His results corroborate the conclusion of Mr. 
Wiegand that the maticin of Dr. Hodges does not exist, but 
that matico owes its power to volatile oil and resin. 

French Salep. — Salep is prepared in France from the tubers 
of orchis mascula, by washing, rubbing off their epidermis, 
and then plunging them in boiling water until they begin to 
swell, to burst the starch granules, and to rid them of a vola- 
tile, disagreeable principle existing in the recent tuber, when 
they are strung on a string and dried. — (R(^pertoric de Pharm., 
1858.) ^ ^ 

Persian Saffron. — This drug is collected near Tifflis, par- 
tially cured, and sent to Constantinople in goat skins, where it 
is again manipulated. — (Repertoire de Pharm., 1858.) 

Conyza Squamosa. — M. Timbal Lagrave (Rep. de Ph.) has 
observed this plant as an adulteration of digitalis, in the mar- 
ket of Toulouse, France. 

Caffein. — M. Vogel (Jour, de Chimie Med., 1858) gives a 
process for extracting cafl'cin from ground green coffee, by 
the aid of benzole, which quickly dissolves the caffein and 
fixed oil. The solvent is then distilled off, and the residue, 
by treatment with boiling water, filtering and concentrating, 
affords the caffein in crystals. 

IVood of Zizij)hus Sativa, or Jiijuhe, was found by M. Latour 
(Jour, de Chimie Med., Juin, 1858) to contain crystallizable 
ziziphic acid, zizipho-tannic acid, and erythro-ziziphic acid, a 
coloring principle. 

Croton Oil. — Thomas Schilippe, (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept. 
1858, from Liebig's Annalen,) has investigated this oil, and 
arrives at the following conclusions, viz. : 1. The oil expressed 
from the warmed beans was least acrid. 2. That displaced 
from the nmrc by alcohol was more acrid. 3. That obtained 
by evaporating tlie alcohol was most acrid. 4. That the 
caustic matter of croton oil is a resinous body, which he calls 
crotonole, C^^ff^O*. 5. That crotonOle has no purgative ac- 


tion, and the purgative principle is yet undetermined. G. That 
the fatty acids of croton oil are stearic, palmetic, myristic, 
lauric, crotonic, and angelic acids, besides one or more from 
the oleic series, which are united to glycerine in the fresh oil. 

Oil of Aiignstura Bark. — Dr. Herzog (Archiv. der Pharm. 
and Chem. Gaz., May 15, 1858. Am. Jour. Pharm., 1858) 
found this oil to possess a pale wine yellow color, having an 
aromatic peculiar odor resembling lovage, and taste at first 
mild and then acrid, boiling at 511^ without decomposition. 
Formula Q''E}'-0. 

BucJcivheat considered as Food. — M. Isodore Pierre has inves- 
tigated the value of this cereal, as an alimentary substance, 
and finds that the finest bolted flour contains much less nitro- 
gen and phosphates than the coarse. — (Am. Jour. Pharm., 1858, 
p. 426.) 

Emodui. — Dela Rue and Mliller (Quarterly Jour. Chem. 
Sci., May, 1858, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., p. 443, 1858,) whilst 
examining the deposit in tincture of rhubarb, discovered this 
principle, emodin, which has the empyrical formula C*H^^O^^ 
They also further investigated the three resins and crysophanic 
acid of rhubarb. 

Neiv Grenada Bark. — Herr Karsten, by numerous analyses 
of the bark of Cinchona lancifolia, made at its place of growth, 
has shown that the proportion of alkaloids varies exceedingly, 
owing to climate and soil, especially the former. He consid- 
ers the average yield of the bark to be 2.5 per cent, of sul- 
phate of quinia, and from 1 to 1.5 per cent, of the cinchonia 
salt; and that while it sometimes yields none, at others it 
afi'ords 4.5 per cent. The bark of the little branches yielded 
little, if any, when the trunk bark afforded 1.5 per cent, of alka- 
loids. He also believes that the alkaloids perform some 
function in the growth of the plant, whereby their amount is 
liable to decrease at certain seasons. Observation renders it 
probable that a uniform climate, with due proportions of cloudy, 
rainy, and sunny weather, is most favorable to their develop- 


ment. — (Pharm. Jour., Lond., Sept., 1858, from Bericlit der 
Akad. der Wissench. zu Berlin, 1858.) 

Alkaloids in Nux Vomica. — M. Schutzenberger (Comptes 
Rendus and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1858, p. 535,) has made 
researches on these alkaloids, which lead him to believe that 
he has established the existence of nine new alkaloids, which 
are all colorless, have a very bitter taste, and an action on the 
animal economy analogous to that of strychnia. They are 
all soluble in boiling water, all contain six or eight equivalents 
of water of crystallization, all colored red by nitric acid like 
brucia, and none of them fuse by heat. The author regards 
them as products of transformation under the influence of vital 

The T/torn Apple. — Schlectendal refers the nativity of 
Datura Stramonium to Southern Russia. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
Nov., 1858.) 

Rhus Toxicodendron. — Dr. Joseph Khittel has made an 
analysis of the leaves of this plant, and attributes their poison- 
ous properties to an alkaloid. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., p. 542, 
Nov., 1858, from Wittstein's Vierteljahrs.) 

Alkaloids of Hijoscyamns, Belladonna, and Stramoninm. — Dr. 
Garrod of London asserts, and supports his assertions by 
experiment, that liquor potassa destroys these alkaloids so 
as to render them harmless and unable to dilate the pupil, but 
he has given no rationale of the action of the alkali. — (London 
Pharm. Jour., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1858.) 

Fropylamin. — W, Procter, Jr., (Amer. Jour. Pharm., March, 
1859,) calls attention to this alkaloid as having been found 
highly useful in rheumatism by Dr. Awenazius, of St. Peters- 
burg. A process is given for its preparation from herring 
pickle, by distillation with potassa. Sec also an additional 
note in the same journal, (May, 1859.) 

Carhuretted Iron. — M. A. Henry, Pharmacien, (Jour, de 
Pharm., Dec, 1858, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., March, 1859,) 
recommends the pulverulent residue left on calcining the pyro- 


lignite of iron to be employed in medicine in doses of from 
one and a half to two grains three times a day, as a very effi- 
cacious chalybeate. 

Gum Tragacanth. — Hugo Von Mohl (Botanische Zcitung 
Jahrg xiv., 1857, translated for Pharm. Jour, by Berthed See- 
man, and republished in Amcr. Jour. Pharm. Marcli and May, 
1859,) has made an elaborate investigation into the nature of 
tragacanth, and its formation and relation to the structure of 
the astragalus. He has detcrmied that tragacanth is " a 
transformation of the cells of the medullary rays into a gela- 
tinous mass, which, by contact with water, swells to several 
hundred times the size of the original structure of the cells." 

PodophijIIin. — Harvey Allen (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1859, 
p. 206,) corroborates the results of John Cadbury, noticed in 
the report of last year, that it is the resin soluble in ether 
which is the most active constituent of the root. 

Botany Bay Kino. — W. Procter, Jr., (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
1859, p. 226,) gives some researches on the properties of this 
kind, and of the natural juice of Eucalyptus Resinifera from 
which it is made or derived. 

AilajitJms gJandulosa. — Prof. Hetet of Toulon, has shown 
that the bark of this tree possesses valuable vermifuge prop- 
erties in the treatment of tape worm ; verified in the treatment 
of numerous cases. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859, from 
Jour, de Pharm., March, 1859.) 

Carapa touloncouna, the name of a tropical tree of Guiana, 
recently investigated by E. Caventou, but its medical proper- 
ties not understood. — (Jour, de Pharm., March, 1859.) 

Ethereal Oil of Horse Chestnuts. — M. Genevoix states (Bul- 
letin de Therapeutique,) that this oil is used as a topical 
application in the early stages of gout and rheumatism. It is 
obtained by percolation with ether and evaporation. 

Otto of Roses. — This subject has been minutely investigated 
during the past year, by I. Mackay, of Edinburgh, (Pharm. 
Jour., Feb., 1859.) By Daniel Hanbury, (ibid, April, 1859,) 


and by Prof. J. Lawrence Smith, (Amer. Jour. Ph., July, 
1859.) The last gentlemen witnessed the process of manu- 
facture at Kissanlik, and Mr. Hanbury has very carefully made 
out the origin and commercial history of the so-called " oil of 
geranium," with which the otto is adulterated, which he has 
shown to be derived from a species of andropogon, in Northern 
India and is received in Turkey via Bombay, the Red Sea 
trade, and Mecca caravans. 

Anagallis Arvensis. — Joseph Augustus Heintzelman has 
made an analysis of this plant, and considers its medicinal 
power to reside chiefly in its volatile oil, which is poisonous 
in doses larger than 4 or 5 minims. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
July, 1859.) 

Cetonia Aurata. — Dr. Eulenburg (Wittstein's Yicrtcljahrs, 
and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859,) states that this insect is 
used as a remedy for hydrophobia, in Russia, with considerable 
success. It belongs to the family scarabccides of Latr., is flat, 
has a strong metallic lustre, body copper-colored, upper part 
golden green. The powdered insect in doses of a teaspoonful 
is said to be sufficient for men and dogs. 

Red Candla Baric. — Dr. W. P. Daniel (Pharm. Jour., April, 
1859, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859,) describes a bark 
having a close affinity with canella, under this name, and 
attributes it to a species of canella, probably C. lauri folia, Don. 
Mr. Hanbury thinks it is derived from Cinnamo-dendron corti- 
cosum, but the flowers of the plant being termitial, like those 
of canella alba, renders Dr. Daniel's view as more probable. 

Flowers of Dajjhne Mezereum. — J. B. Euz has obtained 
daphnin from the flowers of this plant, and saponin from the 
root of arum maculatum. — (Wittstein's Vierteljahrs.) 

Bixa Orellana. ■ — Theodore Peckolt, of Cantagolla, Brazil, 
describes the culture of bixa orellana in that country, and the 
production of annatto from it, explaining the several modes 
used and qualities obtained. — (Archiv. der Pharm., March, 
1859, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859.) 


Catawha Brandij. — John Zimmerman (Maryland Jour. 
Pharm., June, 1859, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859,) has 
described his method of making brandy from the lees and 
pumice of Catawba grapes which produce a satisfactory product. 
He is of the opinion that such brandy is quite equal to the 
French Cognac of equal age. 

Insect Powder. — This powder, celebrated throughout the 
East as a destroyer of insect vermin in hospitals and dwellings, 
large quantities of which are exported to Russia, Germany, 
France and the United States, is the product of Pyrethrum 
roseum and carneum, growing in the mountains of the Cau- 
cassus. — (Buchner's^NewRep., vii.,562,and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
July, 1859.) 

Carbonic Acid as a Medicinal Agent. — M. Fordos has sug- 
gested an apparatus with a flexible tube and terminal pipe 
wherewith carbonic acid, alone or medicated with chloroform 
or other vapor, is applied as a local ancothetic in uterine and 
other affections. The gas is generated in a glass vessel, from 
bicarbonate of soda and tartaric acid, passes through some 
fragments of marble, and if to be medicated, through a sponge 
impregnated with the volatile substances, whereby it becomes 
saturated with their vapor and conveys it to the part. 
Hydrogen may be used in the same manner. — (Pharm. Jour., 
Sept., 1858, p. 183.) 

Caster Fiber. — Dr. Chas. Wilson (Pharm. Jour., Sept., 1858,) 
gives his reasons for the existence of this animal in Scotland, 
in early times. 

Electricity as an Agent to avoid pain in Dentistry. — By causing 
a current of galvanic electricity from a Smee's battery to pass 
through the tooth from the instrument at the moment of ex- 
traction, it has been found that pain is avoided. A com- 
mittee of the Franklin Institute, of Philadelphia, who wit- 
nessed 164 operations, were satisfied that in a majority of 
cases the agency is effective. — (Jour. Frank. Inst., 1858.) 


British Lichens. — Cuthbert Collingwood (Pliarm. Jour., Jan., 
1859) presents an interesting view of the characters and uses 
of these plants. 

Narthex Assafcetida. — Dr. Duckworth (Pharm. Jour., March, 
1859) gives an account of the assafcetida plant which flowered 
in the botanical garden at Edinburgh, April, 1858; with a 
figure, and some remarks on the drug. 

Introduction of Cinchona into India. — The British Govern- 
ment in India have taken steps to introduce the cinchona tree 
into the mountainous districts of India. Mr. Clement Mark- 
ham has been intrusted with this duty. — (Pharm. Jour., July, 

Ether vs. Chloroform. — At a recent sitting of the Imperial 
Academy of Medicine, Lyons, Dr. Barrier gave as his opinion 
that ether was less dangerous, and to be preferred to chloro- 
form as an anesthetic. — (Pharm. Jour., July, 1859.) 

Andira Anthehnintica. — T. Peckolt has examined the wood 
of this tree, which is abundant in Brazil, and noted for the 
irritation its sawdust causes on the workmen engaged in using 
it ; and he finds in it a peculiar coloring matter, to which he has 
given the name andirin, and an active bitter resin, to which he 
attributes the irritating qualities of the wood. He thinks the 
latter may be used in painting, and the former in medicine. — 
(See Chem. Gazette, (London) Jan. 15, 1859.) 

Honeij of the Pyrenees. — M.Leon Soubeiran (Jour, de Pharm. 
Sept., 1858) gives an account of the production of honey and 
wax in the Eastern Pyrenees, amounting annually to 200,000 lbs. 
of honey, and 38,000 lbs. of wax. It is called ''narbonne 

Therapeutic employment of Pyrophosphate of Iron, as fecom- 
mended by M. E. Robignet, has been reported on to the French 
Academy of Medicine by MM. Velpeau, Boudet and others, 
favorably. — (See Jour, de Pharm. 1858, vol. 34, page 265.) 

7^00^ of Jean Lopez. — M. Guibout (Jour, de Pharmacic, vo. 


34) has given an elaborate essay on this old item of the 
materia medica. 

Tillandsia Usnoldes. — M. Avequin of New Orleans has 
examined this plant as it occurs in Louisiana, and finds its 
ashes to amount to 3| per cent., of which one-third is soluble 
potash salts. — (Jour, de Pharmacie.) 

Water of Pensacola. — M. Avequin obtained this water from 
a public fountain in the city of Pensacola, and finds it by 
analysis to be the purest natural water on record; 150,000 
grains gave but 3J grains of solid matter by evaporation. — 
(Jour, de Pharm.) 

Daphne tarton-raira (Lin. and D. C.) — Prof. Hetet of 
Toulon finds this species fully equal to D. mezereum as an 

Concrete juice of Mape. — E. Cuzent, naval pharmacien 
(Jour, de Pharm., Ap., 1859) describes a new coloring matter 
from Tahiti, which is obtained by incision from Liocarpus 
edulis. (Forst.) It is astringent, and yields colored lakes 
by mordants. 

Roman Camomile. — M. Timbal Lagrave (Jour, do Pharm., 
May, 1859) says that the Roman camomile of French phar- 
macy is frequently found to consist of the flowers of three dis- 
tinct plants, viz., Anthemis nobilis, Crysanthemum parthe- 
nium, and Matricaria parthenoides. 

Powder of decayed Wood. — M, Devergie (Bui. de Therap., 
March, 1859) recommends the powder of decayed wood as a 
substitute for lycopodium, as a siccative astringent in certain 
skin diseases. 

Santonin. — M. De Martini (Rep. Pharm., Sept., 1858) gives 
an account of the physiological action of santonin, and espe- 
cially of its property of causing objects to appear green to 
patients under its use. 

Dates and Areca Nuts. — Prof. Kletinsky of Vienna (Rep. 
de Pharm., Oct., 1858) gives analyses of these two substances. 


In 100 parts of dates he finds water 30, sugar 36.2, 
aqueous extractive containing gliadin 22.9, pectin and 
pectates8.5, cellulose 1.5, coumarinand citric acid 0.1, ashes 0.8. 
In the areca nuts he found water 3.88, fatty matter 53.73, 
emulsin with 14.35 per cent, of nitrogen, 30.10, cellulose 3.99, 
sugar 6,35, ashes 2.25. 

Formation of Ergot. — M. Bonorden (Bui. de la Soc. Botan. 
and Rep. de Pharm., Nov., 1858) gives some observations on 
the formation of ergot from its earliest stages in the ovary of 
the rye. When this is attacked by the parasitic fungus it 
exudes a viscous fluid. He considers the parasite to be a 
species of Kentro sporium. 

Croton Oil and its Congeners. — M. Buchheim of Dorpat, 
(Rep. de Pharm., Jan. and Feb., 1859) gives an extensive 
notice of the pharmacological group, of which croton oil is the 
most active member. 

Cod Fisheries of Norway. — A. De Maude describes the mode 
of conducting these fisheries, whence is derived much of the 
cod-liver oil used in Europe. (Bui. de la Societe d'acclima- 
tion, and R^p. de Pharm., March, 1859.) 

Polygonum aricidare. — M. Paret (Jour, de Chim. Med., 1859) 
recommends this new astringent as appropriate when others 
are not at hand. 

Maiuffacture of Raisins and Wine in Greece. — M. Landerer 
(Echo Med. Suisse and Rep de Pharm., Dec, 1858) gives an 
interesting account of these productions. According to this 
writer the Greek wines do not keep well, and M. Bouchardat 
attributes this to want of care in the manufacture, as regards 
the condition of the fruit and the wine vats. The amount of 
dried raisins, or currants, as we call them, produced is im- 
mense — 120 to 180 English litres (probably pounds). 

Japanese Vegetable Wax. — About 700 tons of this sub- 
stance, derived from Rhus succedaneum according to Sir 
William Hooker, has recently been received in London from 


Japan, to be used for the purpose of making candles. — (Pharm. 

Strawberries. — M. Henri Buignet has made a very elaborate 
examination of the fruit of the strawberry, including several 
species, (Jour, de Pharmacie, August, 1859). 11 varieties or 
species were analyzed. The author seeks to determine — 
1st. The proportion of water. 2d. The nature and propor- 
tion of free acid. 3d. Nature and proportion of sugars. 
4th. Nature and proportion of fatty matter. 5th. The pro- 
portion of nitrogenous matter. 6th. Proportion of the marc or 
insoluble matter. 7th. Other proximate principles. 8th. 
Mineral ingredients. He found about 90 per cent, of water; 
0.08 per cent, of malic acid ; 5.46 to 12.76 per cent, of sugar ; 
nearly 1 per cent, of fatty matter, almost wholly in the seeds. 
He found also pectin, odorous matter (probably volatile oil) 
and coloring matter. 

Leeches. — M. Triplier (Jour, de Pharm., August, 1859) gives 
some new observations on the choice, preservation, and em- 
ployment of leeches. 

Crystallization of Bees Wax. — M. Boettger says that if a 
cake of wax be laid on the surface of the water in a capsule 
three-fourths full, and heated carefully till the wax melts, and 
allowed then to cool very slowly, the surface in contact with 
the water will exhibit, after the cooling of the wax, evidences 
of crystallization in hexagonal prisms, like honeycomb. — (Jour. 
de Pharm., Aug., 1859.) 

Note 011 several species of Croton. — J. J. Bennett describes 
(Pharm. Jour., Aug., 1859) several species of croton found in 
the West Indies, and related to the history of cascarilla. 

Preimration of Opium in France. — M. Roux, Professor of 
Botany at Rochefort, has recently presented an interesting 
paper to the French Academy on the culture of opium in 
France. His researches date from 1851, and were made on 
eight different kinds of poppy. He finds it to contain a larger 
percentage of morphia than Smyrna opium, and is of ^the 


opinion that it might become profitable in districts where the 
poppy is cultivated for its seed for oil-making. 

Ozonized Oils. — Dr. Theophilus Thompson, in a communi- 
cation to the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of Edin- 
burgh, states that when fixed oils are charged with oxygen and 
then exposed to the sun's direct light, and so become ozonized, 
they are endowed with properties not before possessed, as 
they reduce the pulse as much as 24 beats a minute in some 
cases. The oils particularly tried were cocoanut oil, sun- 
flower oil, and cod-liver oil, and Dr. Thompson thinks that they 
may, from their tendency to abate the pulse, be found useful 
in phthisis. — (Pharm. Jour., Aug., 1859.) 

Borax and Sulphur. — The Louisville Medical News (Jan. 
15, 1859) asserts that in Congressional Township No. 13, 52 
miles from Napa city, California, there is a borax lake nearly two 
miles in extent. The water is so strongly saturated that at 
seasons it is deposited in crystalline form on the bottom. It 
also states that a bank of sulphur, 20 to 30 acres in extent, is 
found in the same vicinity, and supposed to be thirty feet 

Cider. — Cider in some degree is an item of the materia 
medica as a menstruum, and the source of the best vinegar. 
A writer in the Baltimore American Farmer communicates a 
letter from Professor E. N. Horsford, of Cambridge, on the 
means of improving and refining this liquid. — (See Druggists' 
Circular, Feb., 1859, page 39.) 

Meerschaum. — For an account of this mineral as it occurs 
near Thebes, in Egypt, see a paper from the Archiv. der 
Pharm., in Druggists' Circular, page 175, August, 1859. 

India Ink. — The manufacture of India ink in China is de- 
scribed in a paper from Augsburg Ausland, in the Druggists' 
Circular, Aug., 1859, page 177. 

The Acrid Principle of Ranunculvs Sceleratus. — 0. L. Erd- 
mann, in compliance with the request of Professor Clarus, has 
made an investigation of this root, and finds it to be a volatile 


oil, easily changed into anemonin and anemonic acid. — 
(Buchner's N. Repert. and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1859.) 

Nicotiana. — John Lc Conte (Journal Acad. Nat. Sci., 
Philad.) has investigated the species of nicotiana yielding 
commercial tobacco, and he arrives at the conclusion that all 
the so-called varieties are traceable to three species, N. taba- 
cum, N. rustica, N. fruticosa ; the first yielding the United States 
tobacco proper, the second affording the tobacco of East India 
and Persia, and the last, that of Cuba. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
Sept.,' 1859.) 

Ginseng. — During the past year quite an excitement has 
sprung up in the North-western States in regard to ginseng, 
with a view to its exportation to China. Much of the root at 
first obtained was gathered at the wrong season and was 
inferior in quality. Dr. Stevens, of Faribault, Minnesota, in 
a letter to Mr. F. Stearns, gives an account of the whole pro- 
cess and trade in ginseng in that State. — (Peninsular and 
Independ. Med. Jour, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1859.) 

Carbonate of Lithia. — The London correspondent of the 
Druggists' Circular, in his letter published in the August num- 
ber of that journal, states that carbonate of lithia has recently 
come into use as a solvent for uric acid calculi, owing to its 
great solvent power for that acid. Its great expense will limit 
its use. 

Ampelopsis quinquefolia. — See a paper on this plant, in 
reference to its botany and medicinal qualities, in the Drug- 
gists' Circular, Sept., 1859, page 198. 

Myrrh. — See an elaborate analysis of this drug, by C. 
Ruickoldt. — (Pharm. Centr. Blatt and the Druggist, July, 


Platinum. — See a paper on the occurrence of this metal in 
Southern Borneo, by Prof. Bleekrode, (Pharm, Jour., July, 
1858; from Jour. Soc. Arts.) 


IS^ilphates free from Iron. — Prof. Henry Wiirtz, of Washing- 
ton, gives a process for the preparation of these salts, free 
from iron. He first boils their solutions with deutoxide of 
lead, which converts the iron into ferric oxide, and then with 
carbonate of baryta which precipitates the iron as sesqui- 
oxide along with sulphate of baryta. 

Permanganate of Potassa. — MM. Cloez and Guignet give 
the result of various applications of this substance as an oxid- 
izing agent. (See Compt. Rend., June 2d and Nov. 7th, 1858, 
and Amer. Jour., Pharm., Jan. 78, and March, 151, 1859.) 

Solubility of sesquioxide of Chromium. — Charles T. Carney 
of Boston, (Amer. Pharm., March, 1859,) has shown that ses- 
quioxide of chromium, is soluble in a weak solution of caustic 
alkali, during the passage of a current of galvanism, and that 
by this means, an ink with a chromic oxide base can be re- 
moved from a bank note without injury to the texture of the 

Industrial application of Baryta. — F. Kuhlmann, (Comp. 
Rendus. and Amer. Jour. Pharm., March, 1859,) has sought to 
render the valuable properties of this base available in the 
arts and manufactures. His first step was to avail himself of 
the waste acid residue of the chlorine manufacturer, always a 
nuisance, and convert it into chloride of barium, by roasting 
together native sulphate of baryta, charcoal and this impure 
chloride of manganese, whereby BaO SO^ +MnCl +^C yield 
Ba CI. MnS and ^CO. By lixiviation nearly pure chloride of 
barium is obtained, which offers a ready means of using the 
base in preparing citric, acetic, tartartic acid, &c., by decom- 
posing their baryta salts with SO'". 

Preservation of Timber. — F. Hewson, C. E., has given the 
results of numerous experiments on the preservation of timber 
for buildings, railroads, etc., by imbuing it with metallic so- 
lutions, such as sulphate of copper, chloride of zinc, &c., by 
soaking the timber placed vertically in the solutions held in 


appropriate tanks. (Sec Jour. Frank. Inst., Jan., 1859, and 
Amer. Jour. Ph., March, 1859.) 

Platinum Black. — C. Brunner gives an easy method of pre- 
paring this substance, by decomposing perchloride of platinum 
with metallic iron (as reduced by hydrogen) and an excess of 
HCl. (See Dingler's Polytechnic Jour, and Amer. Jour. Pharm.) 

Mohjhdate of Ammonia. — C. Brunner, (Polytechn. Jour, and 
Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859,) gives an improved method of 
preparing this salt. 

Oxide of Uranium. — M. Patera gives his results, in numer- 
ous details, in the preparation of this oxide in a pure state. 
(Pharm. Jour., Dec, 1858, page 332.) 

Equivalents of the Sijnjile Bodies. — M. Dumas, (Pharm. Jour., 
vol. xviij., July, Sept. and Oct., 1858, and Jan , 1859, from 
Compt. Rend.,) has giveji a valuable resume of this important 
subject, in which he endeavors to get at the laws wliich govern 
their grouping. 

Peroxide of Chlorine ClO^ — Messrs. Calvert and Davis give 
a new method of preparing this gas, by heating a mixture of one 
equivalent of chlorate of potassa, with 9 equivalents of oxalic 
acid well pulverized, on a water bath to 158° r.,when five-sixths 
of the chlorine is given off in this form. (Pharm. Jour., 
March, 1859.) 

Salts of Chromium. — M. G. Fremy, (Compt. Eend. and 
Pharm. Jour., May, 1859,) has given the results of a careful 
examination of the compounds of this metal. 

lodo-nitrate of Silver. — Dr. Hoffmann, (Pharm. Jour., July, 
1859,) has described an iodo-nitrate of silver, composed of 
iodide and nitrate of silver. It does not appear to be a 
uniform compound. 

Ferrocyanide of Potassium and Copper. — P. Bolley describes 
this new compound as having deposited from a coppering fluid, 
composed of sulphate of copper, sulphate of iron and cyanide 
of potassium. Its formula was 3 KCy, 2 Cu^Cy, 2FeCy + 8 HO. 

Calcium. — M. Lies Bodart, (Compt. Rend., July, 1858, and 


Chem. Gaz., vol. 16, 329,) has produced metallic calcium by 
heating iodide of calcium with sodium in a close crucible. With 
4 grammes of sodium, 3 grammes of calcium were obtained. 

Nitrates of Iron. — A. Scheurer-Kestuer has obtained inter- 
esting results from his investigations on these salts, which 
throw light on the difficulties that present in making the 
medicinal solution of Kerr. The strength of the acid has^ 
much to do with the result — very weak acid producing proto 
salts with ammonia, whilst stronger acid yields basic salts with 
thepernitrate. — (See Chem. Gaz., Feb. 15th, 1859, fromCompt. 

Acetate of Alumina. — M. Tessicr (Compt. Rend, and Chem. 
Gaz., March 1,1859,) has investigated the spontaneous decom- 
position of acetate of alumina. 

Estimation of Iodine in Kelp. — Messrs. Wallace and Lamont 
give (Chem. Gaz., Ap. 1, 1859,) a new process for testing 
kelp liquors, and state that about 5000 tons of kelp is annually 
brought to Glasgow, valued at from $12.50 to $60.00 per ton. 
In the same journal, June 1st, Mr. Lamont gives an analysis 
of the " cut- weed kelp " of the Orkney Islands. 

AnJnjdrous Sulphuric Acid. — M. Osann, (Chem. Gaz., May 2d, 
1859,) recommends in making this preparation, to keep a coil 
of platina wire reaching from the bottom to the surface, when 
it may be distilled without fear of breaking the apparatus. 

Friction Matches. — Canouil's processes for manufacturing 
chemical matches without phosphorus or other poison, from 
chlorate of potassa, peroxide of lead, &c., will be found at page 
214, Chem. Gazette, June 1, 1859. 

Sulphate of Baryta. — M. Pelouze gives a process for making 
this salt by the direct action of sulphuric acid on native car- 
bonate of baryta,. by aid of a little hydrochloric acid. — (See 
Chem. Gaz., June 1, 1859.) 

Diffusion of Fluorine. — Prof. J. Nicklcs, (Jour. Pharm., 
Aug. and Sept., 1858,) gives an elaborate investigation of the 
extent to which this element is found in nature. 


Arseniles of Protoxide and Sesquioxide of Iron. — M. Enon 
(Rep. de Pharm., Oct., 1858) gives the composition and mode 
of preparing these salts. The hydrated sesqui salt has the 
composition 2 As^C, 3 Fe^0''-f4 HO, and is made by double 
decomposition between arsenite of potassa and sulphate of 
sesquioxide of iron. 

Cyanide of Potassium. — M. L. Roussin (Rep. de Pharm., 
Dec, 1858,) has shown that by evaporating a solution of 4 
equivalents of acetate of potassa, 3 equivalents nitrate of 
potassa and 5 equivalents caustic potassa, to fusion at 350° C, it 
deflagrates with energy. The black mass, when pulverized and 
lixiviated, affords a considerable quantity of cyanide of potas- 
sium mixed with carbonate of potassa. The author thinks this 
result is capable of being improved on by regulating the pro- 
portions, and perhaps by substituting other salts for the acetate, 
so as to get a larger yield. 

Facts respecting the Nitrates. — John M. Ordway (Silliman's 
Journal, Jan., 1859) has investigated these salts, and espe- 
cially the hydrated nitrates, and has developed some new facts 
in regard to them. Nearly all the hydrated nitrates have 
either three or six equivalents of water to each equivalent of 
nitric acid. 

Cobalt and NicJcel. — Prof. Henry Wurtz (Silliman's Jour., 
Jan., 1859) has discovered cobalt and nickel ores in Gaston 
County, North Carolina. 

Diipojifs Artesian Well Water, at Louisville. — Prof. J. Law- 
rence Smith (Silliman's Journal, March, 1859) describes this 
remarkable well water and gives its analysis. The water 
contains 915.5 grains of solid matter and 9 J grains of gases to 
the wine gallon. Its temperature is constant at 7GJ° F., and 
its specific gravity 1.0113. 

Mouth Blowpipe. — Prof. Henry Wurtz (Silliman's Journal, 
March, 1859) describes a method of increasing the heat of the 
mouth blowpipe. 


Artesian Well Water at Lafayette, Lid. — This water, called 
also ''white sulphur water" has been analyzed by D. C. M. 
Wetherill. (See Silliman's Journal, March, 1859.) It con- 
tains HS., CO' and N, besides 427 grs. of solid matter per 

Ahtminium. — Prof. Nickles (Paris correspondent of Silli- 
man's Journal, July, 1859) describes the progress of the 
manufacture of this metal, and especially of the discovery of a 
process by M. Mouray of soldering this metal with an alloy of 
zinc and aluminium. 

Nature of Ozone. — R. Clausius (Pogg. Annal. and Philos. 
Mag.) gives his views of the nature of this intangible sub- 

New test for Potash. — W. Plunkett (Chem. Gazette, June 1, 
1858, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1858, p. 429) suggests bitartrate 
of soda as a new test for potassa, preferable to free tartaric 

Chloride of Silver. — Prof. Rudolph Boetger, of Frankfort, 
recommends glucose as a reducing agent for chloride of silver 
under the influence of an excess of solution of carbonate of 
soda, heating them all together, when the reduction is readily 
effected. — (See Maryland Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1858, and Amer. 
Jour. Pharm., Nov., 1858.) 

Sohhle Glass. — See a paper on this subject as regards its 
uses, by John M. Maisch, in Druggists' Circular and (Amer. 
Jour. Pharm., Nov., 1858.) 

Test for L)diiie in Nitric Acid and Nitrates. — Prof. Stein 
gives a very sensitive process for detecting iodine in nitrate 
of soda, &c. — (Chem. Gaz. and Amer. Jour. Pharm., March, 

Caustic Soda. — Mr. Newton has taken out a patent for 
making caustic soda from common salt, by the agency of lluo- 
silicic acid, obtained by the action of superheated steam on 
fluor spar and silica in a furnace. A fluoride of siliciura and 


sodium is produced, which is decomposed by lime, to get caus- 
tic soda. — (Pharm. Journal, 230, Oct., 18.58.) 

Carhonic Acid and Hijdrosidphuric Acid in mineral waters. — 
M. Gaul tier dc Claubry has presented some views on the de- 
termination of these gases. — (Jour, de Pharm., Aug., 1859.) 

Metallic Cobalt. — William Sharswood (Proc. Charleston 
Nat. Hist. Soc. and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 433, 1859,) gives a 
process for preparing this metal from the chloride of purpureo- 
cobalt of Dr. Gibbs and Geuth. 

The estimation of the organic matter of the air. — Robert An- 
gus Smith, F. R. S,, (Chem. Gaz., May 2d, and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., Sept. 1859,) gives a method of estimating the relative 
amount of the organic matter of the air, by means of a test 
solution of permanganate of potassa. 

Relations of the soil to vegetation. — M. Boussingalt, after 
investigating the conditions of fertility, arrives at the conclu- 
sion, 1. That the absolute proportion of nitrogen is not in 
relation to fertility. 2. That nitrates and ammoniacal salts 
are the only compounds which convey assimilable nitrogen. 
3. That a plant, in order to be capable of its normal develop- 
ment, must have a large volume of earth. 4. That during the 
process called " fallow," soil becomes less carbonaceous, and 
more nitrogenous. — (Comp. Rend, and Chem. Gaz., July 15, 

Tungsten Steel. — F. Mayr has discovered an alloy of tung- 
sten and steel, which is remarkable for its hardness and 
tenacity. — (Chem. Central Blatt and Silliman's Jour., Sept., 


Decomposition of Q^uinia Salts by the Acetates. — John M. 
Maisch (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1858,) continues his 
observations on this subject, (March, 1855.) and clears up 
some discrepancies noted by more recent writers regarding 
the composition of the crystals precipitated from a solution 
of sulphate of quinia, by an alkaline acetate. Mr. Maisch 


shows that under some circumstances these crystals may con- 
tain some sulphate of quinia, but that there is always an ex- 
cess of the acetic salt. 

New test for Cinchonia. — J. Howland Bill, M, D., U. S. A., 
recommends ferrocyanide of potassium as a test for cinchonia, 
owing to its forming a yellow insoluble crystalline salt with 
that substance, which he considers quite characteristic. — (Silli- 
man's Journal and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1858.) 

Mijronate of Potassa. — Dr. S. Yon Thielau, (Wittstein's 
Vierteljahrschrift, vij. 161 to 170, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
Nov., 1858,) denies the existence of the myronic acid of Bussy, 
but admits of the existence of a substance, subject to the action 
of myrosin, which thereby yields sulphocyanuret of allyle. 

New test for the Alkaloids. — Phosphomolybdic acid is sug- 
gested by M. Sonnechin, (Lond. Pharm. Jour., Sept., 1858,) as 
a new precipitant for the alkaloids. 

Melezitose. — M. Berthelot describes a new sugar under this 
name, (Compt. Rendus, Aug. 2, 1858, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
Jan., 1859,) extracted from the manna of Brian(jon, which is 
derived from a species of larch in Switzerland, When melezi- 
tose is dried at 230° Fahr., it has the composition of cane 
sugar, C^-H"0^\ fuses at 284° P., without change. Does not 
reduce the potassiotartrate of copper. Diluted SO^ converts 
it into glucose; NO^ into oxalic acid; and it is imperfectly 
acted on by yeast. 

Napcllina. — P. Hubschmann states, (Rep. de Pharm., July, 
1858,) that commercial aconitina contains another alkaloid, to 
which he has given the name of napellhia. Iji its isolated 
state it is nearly insoluble in ether, not precipitated by ammo- 
nia, neutralizes acids, and is electrical when in powder. 
— (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 399, 1858.) 

Alcoholic Fermentation. — M. Pasteur, (Comptcs Rend., 
Aug. 2, 1858, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Jan., 1859,) has deter- 
mined that succinic acid and glycerine are normal results of 


the alcoholic fermentation always present, and that where 
lactic acid is found among the results of this process, it is due 
to the presence and action of lactic yeast. 

The Camphenic Series. — M. Berthelot has arrived at some 
interesting results in operating on the camphenes "with plati- 
num black. Camphene derived from artificial camphor, C-'^H^, 
is converted into common camphor, C-"H 0-, by its action. 
— (Comp. Rend. Chemist, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Jan., 1859.) 

Vanill'm. — M, Gobley, ( Pharm., Jan., 1859,) has 
succeeded in isolating the odorous principle of vanilla in a 
state of purity, and finds it to be a colorless substance, crys- 
tallizing in four-sided prisms, having a strong odor of vanilla, 
and a hot, biting taste, fusing at 195° F., volatilizing at 302° P., 
but slightly soluble in cold water, largely in boiling water, and 
very soluble in alcohol, ether and the volatile and fixed oils. 
Its composition is C-'°fl''0'*, whilst that of coumarin, to which it 
is closely allied, is C^^H^O^ 

Strychnia. — P. Schutzenberger, (Comp. Rend, and Amer. 
Jour. Pharm., March, 1859,) has ascertained that strychnia 
may be oxidized by nitrite of potassa, and thus yield two 
new bases, oxystrychnia and hinoxystnjchnia. 

Valerianate of Atropia. — U. Callman describes this salt as 
in white crystalline crusts, very brilliant, fuses at 89.6° P., is 
partially decomposed by the CO^' of the atmosphere, smells of 
valerianic acid, is very soluble in water, and less so in alcohol 
and ether. It is neutral in composition, and contains 2 eq. 
water of crystallization. — (Chem. Gaz., Jan. 1, and Amer. 
Jour. Pharm., March, 1859.) 

Rumicin. — Karl von Thann (Chem. Gaz. and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., March, 1859, from Sitzungsber, der Wiss. Zu Wein, 
xxxi., p. 26,) proves that rumicin, from various species of 
rumex, is identical with crysophanic acid of rhubarb. 

Iodide of.Ethyle. — Dr. DeVrij gives a ready method of pre- 
paring this iodide, by saturating absolute alcohol with HCl, 


and decomposing it with iodide of potassium in proportion to 
the chlorine absorbed. — (Chem. Gaz., Dec. 1, 1858.) 

Acids of Rhubarb Leaves, Tomatoes and Quinces. — Thomas 
A. Lancaster has investigated the nature of the acids in these 
juices, and finds the acidity of rhubarb stocks to be due to bin- 
oxalate of potassa, that of quinces to malic acid, and that of 
tomatoes to bimalate of lime and acid citrate of potassa. 
— (Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859.) 

Bnjonia Alba. — G. F. Waltz, (Wittstein's Yiertelj, and 
Amer. Jour. Pliarm., May, 1859,) gives an analysis of briony 
root, in which he finds bnjonin and bryonatin, the former being 
a glucocide, and is resolved into sugar bryoestin and hydrobnjo- 
tin, by the action of diluted sulphuric acid. 

Volatile Oil of the seeds of the Cicuta Virosa. — Julius 
Trapp, (Buchner's Rdpertor, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 
1859,) has shown that this oil is identical with the oil of cum- 
min seed, and it is also probable that the identity holds good 
with the oil of our indigenous cicuta maculata, described by 
Joseph E. Young, in the Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1855, p. 289. 

Colocynth. — Dr. F. G. Waltz gives some analytical results 
with this drug, which show that colocynthin is a glucoside, 
yielding colocynthcin and sugar, by the action of SO', that its 
composition is G^W'O'^, that of colocynthcin being C'"ff-0^'^; 
and further, that colocynth yields a crystalline body, colocy?!- 
thitin. — (Wittstein's Viertelj., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 

Graliola Officinalis. — Dr. F. G. Waltz has analyzed this 
plant, and found in it gratiolin, a glucoside, which yields gra- 
tioretin and gratiolatin, by the action of SO^ It also contains 
gratiosoUn and gratiolacrin, besides fixed oil, resin and antir- 
rhinic acid. — (Wittstein's Vierteljahrs, and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., July, 1859.) 

Samadarin is an exceedingly bitter, crystalline, neutral 
principle, obtained from samadara indica, of Java. It is more 


soluble in "vrater than alcoliol, and is said to belong to the 
class of bodies of which salicin is a type. — (Amer. Jour. 
Pharra., July, 1859, and Chem. Gaz.) 

Melampyrh^ a saccharine substance, discovered in 1835, by 
Hunefield, is described by W, Eichler, (Buchner's Rep., and 
Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859,) and its chemical characters 
and position in the saccharine group pointed out. 

Alihcca Paper. — Prof. Aiken, of the University of Mary- 
land, proposes paper stained with the coloring principle of 
althoea rosea, or common hollyhock, as a substitute for litmus 
paper. The prepared paper is purplish blue, when dry — 
acids impart a red hue, and alkalies bluish green ; the condi- 
tion of neutrality being indicated by purplish blue, as in red 
cabbage paper. As this paper is comparatively permanent as 
regards the bleaching action of light, and is very cheap, Prof. 
Aiken thinks it may be substituted for litmus advantageously. 
— (Maryland Journal and Trans., June, 1859, and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., July, 1859.) 

Scammomj and Turpeth Resins. — Dr. H. Spirgatus, of Kon- 
igsburg, has investigated (Buchner's Rep., and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., July, 1859) these resins, and finds them to be 
glucosides, and like jalap resin, are decomposed by caustic 

Creosote from Beech Wood. — H. Hlasivretz, (Annal. der 
Chemie und Pharm., and Pharm. Jour., Oct., 1858,) has inves- 
tigated this variety of creosote and its compounds with alka- 
lies, and also some of its derivative products. 

Vecretahlc Parchment. — Dr. Hoffmann, to whom De la Rue 
& Co., of London, submitted this substance for examination, 
has given a report very favorable to its importance in the arts, 
which will be found in the Pharmaceutical Journal, Nov., 1858, 
p. 273. 

Synthesis of the Hydrocarbons. — M. Marcellin Berthelot has 
developed this subject in an elaborate paper, republished in 


the Pharmaceutical Journal, Nov., 1858, and March, 1859, 
which possesses much chemical interest. 

Indigo as a test for Sugar. — Dr. E. Mulder, (Archiv. der 
Pharm., Sept., 1858,) recommends indigo as a test for grape 
sugar and uncrystallizable sugar, both of which are capable of 
discharging its color in the presence of alkalies. — (See Pharm. 
Jour., Feb., 1859.) 

Mtirexide. — A notice of the chemical history of this inter- 
esting substance, by H. Fritzsche, will be found in the Phar- 
maceutical Journal, Dec, 1858, p. 328. 

Arhuthi. — M. Strccker has continued the examination of 
this substance, begun by Kawalier, and has developed several 
interesting points in connection with its chemical history, 
showing its parallelism with salicin, of the salicyle series, in a 
new series, which includes quinon, hydroquinon, and other de- 
rivatives of kinic acid. — (Liebig's Annalen, and Chem. Gaz., 
Feb. 1, 1859.) 

Sorhic and Parasorhic Adds. — Dr. Hoifraann, (Pharm. 
Jour., May, 1859,) describes two new volatile acids, obtained 
from the berries of the sorbus aucuparia. In the preparation 
of malic acid from these berries, by G. Merck, of Darmstadt, 
he obtained a penetrating volatile oil, in which Dr. Hoifmann 
found the acids above referred to. 

Anthemin and Anthemic Acid. — M. C. Patone, of Alexan- 
dria, has shown that the Anthemis arrensis, of Europe, con- 
tains a crystalline alkaloid, which he calls anthemin, and a 
crystalline, organic acid, called anthemic acid. — (Pharm. Jour., 
July, 1859.) 

Crocine. — Rochelder finds, (Chem. Gaz., Sept., 1858,) that 
the yellow coloring matter of the fruit of the gardenia grandi- 
flora, or Chinese yellow pods, is identical with the crocine of 
saffron, and further, that this principle is a glucosidc, yielding 
sugar and crocatin, by the action of diluted SO^ Crocatin is 
a dark red, amorphous powder, composed of C^-IP^O", and is 
the true dyeing principle. 


Oxyquinine. — P. Scliutzeuberger, (Comp. Rend., and Chcm. 
Gaz., Oct., 1858,) finds that sulphate of quiiiia, boiled in 
water with nitrite of potassa, and precipitated by ammonia, 
yields a granular, crystalline precipitate, ■which is quinia and 2 
equivalents of oxygen. 

PrjrogalUc Acid. — A. Eosing, (Comp. Rend., June 14, 1858, 
and Chem. Gaz., Oct. 15, 1858,) has extended our knowledge of 
this substance by his investigations. 

Tannin of Galls. — Kawalicr, (Chem. Gaz., Nov. 15, 1858,) 
has closely studied this substance, but was not able to satis- 
factorily clear up the difficulties that appear in its constitu- 
tion, nor has he corroborated Strecker's views in regard to its 
being gallic acid and sugar. He is satisfied that it is not con- 
stituted like salicin, nor, in his opinion, has pure tannin been 
yet made or isolated. 

Lactic Acid. — For an elaborate investigation of this acid, 
as regards its equivalent and constitution, see a paper by A. 
Wurtz, Chem. Gaz., Dec. 1, 1858. 

Trehalose is a new kind of sugar, obtained from the cocoons 
of a Persian insect, living on a species of echinops. It has 
been named and investigated by M. Berthelot. — (Comp. Rend., 
and Chem. Gaz., Dec. 15, 1858.) 

Picric Acid. — M. Carey Lea, of Philadelphia, has investi- 
gated this acid and many of its salts. He obtained the acid 
from the resin of Xautherrhea hastilis, as suggested by Dr. 
Stenhoase. — (See Silliman's Journal, Nov., 1858.) 

Thuja Occidentalis. — M. Kawalier has submitted the arbor 
vit^ of the United States to a very elaborate analysis, and 
among other constituents of less note, he finds thujine, thuji- 
genin, and a peculiar tannic acid. — (See Chem. Gaz., Feb. 15 
and Mar. 1, 1859.) 

Veratric Acid. — W. Merck has re-examined this acid. By 
distillation with baryta in excess, it yields veratrole, an oily 
fluid, crystallizing at 59" F., and boiling at about 400° F. 


Oil of Rue. — C. Greville Williams, (Chcm. Gaz., Apl. 1, 
1859,) has separated several aldehydes from this oil, proving 
it to be very complex in composition. 

Quercitrin, as in oak bark, (Querciis tinctoria,) has been 
found by Rochelder in the flowers and leaves of the horse 
chestnut. — (Chem, Gaz., May 2d, 1859.) 

Hcematoxylin. — 0. L. Erdmann has investigated closely this 
coloring principle. — (See Chem. Gaz., June 15, 1859.) 

Test for Grape Sugar. — Prof. Boettgcr, (Wittstein's Vier- 
telj., and Maryland Journal, Dec. 1858,) has shown that sub- 
nitrate of bismuth in the presence of a solution of carbonate 
of soda, is deoxydized and becomes blackish if this sugar is 
present when the mixture is heated. 

New Process for Assaying Hydrocyanic Acid. — H. Buignet, 
(Jour, de Pharni., March, 1859,) gives a new process for the 
assaying of prussic acid liquids, based on the formation of a 
double cyanide of copper and ammonium, and effected volu- 
metrically, by means of a graduated glass burette and a test 
liquid of sulphate of copper, containing 23.09 grammes of the 
salt to 1000 cubic centimetres of water. An excess of liquor 
ammonia is added to the liquid to be tested, and then the test 
liquor, as long as the blue color, which it at first produces, dis- 
appears by agitation. Each cubic centimetre of the test 
liquid used, indicates a milligramme of free hydrocyanic acid. 

New facts relative to Lactic Yeast. — M, Pasteur has shown, 
(Jour, de Pharm., March, 1859,) that when lactic acid is pro- 
duced by fermentation from sugar, it is occasioned by the 
transforming influence of a peculiar ferment analogous to beer 
yeast, consisting of numerous globular articulations about 
1-GOOth of a millimetre in diameter, and in its general char- 
acters like beer yeast. M, Pasteur shows under what circum- 
stances this yeast may be formed. 

Si/Iphocyanhydric Ether. — M. Schlagdenhauffer, (Comp. 
Rend., and Jour, de Pharm., Apl., 1859,) describes this ether 


as produced by the reaction between alcohol, hydriodic ether 
and sulphocyanide of potassium. 

Koussoin. — M. Pavesi describes the active principle of 
Kousso, as an amorphous, resinous looking substance, deep 
yellow colored in powder, slightly bitter and nauseous, insolu- 
ble in water, and soluble in alcohol. He also calls it te?iiin, 
from its use in tape-worm. — (Jour, de Pharni., Apl., 1859-.) 

CJilorophylle. — According to M.Sachs, (Jour, do Pharm., 
June, 1859,) chlorophylle may exist in etoilatcd or bleached 
plants, and that under the influence of an oxidizing agent it is 
susceptible of again becoming green. Green chlorophylle may 
also be decolorized. The colorless chlorophylle he calls 

Decolorizing Poiver of Seeds. — ^I. Harms, noticing the fact 
that wine of colchicum and other wines of seeds arc lighter 
colored than the Avine from which they are made, attributes 
the change to the decolorizing property of the seeds. — (Jour, 
de Pharm., June, 1859.) 

Produciion of Cellulose and Fatty Matter, during the alcoholic 
fermentation from sugar. M. Pasteur, (Jour de Pharm., July, 
1859,) has asserted, that from carefully conducted experiments, 
he has observed the production of cellulose and oily matter 
during the fermentation of sugar. 

Solanin. — M. Otto Gmelin, (Jour, de Pharm., July, 1859,) 
has arrived at the conclusion that pure solanin is not nitroge- 
nous, as by repeated crystallization from absolute alcohol, it is 
gradually removed. He therefore infers that it possesses no 
basic properties, and agrees with Zwenger and Kind, that it is 
a glucoside. 

Oil of Cochlearia Officinalis. — M. Geiseler, (Archiv. der 
Pharm., and Jour, de Pharm., July, 1859,) has examined the 
essential oil of scurvy grass, and finds it to be an oxygenated oil 
of garlic, C<'H5,0S, being in fact oil of garlic, plus 1 equivalent 
of oxygen. He finds that the dried leaves will not yield the oil 


by distillation with water alone, but when the flour of white 
mustard seed is added to supply myrosin, the oil is produced. 
The oil is very volatile, has an odor like ether and horse rad- 
ish, sp. gr. is .942, is but little soluble in water, and forms a 
crystalline compound with ammonia, parallel with thiosinnamin, 
from oil of mustard. 

Rhamnoxanthin. — M. T. L. Phipson has extracted this sub- 
stance from the Rhamnus frangula. It is volatile, crystalliza- 
ble, of a resinous nature, soluble in alkaline fluids with a 
magnificent purple color, and is colored emerald green, by 
concentrated SO'^, which, on dilution with water, becomes yel- 
low. — (Rep. de Pharm., Aug., 1858.) 

Coloring Matter of Leaves. — M. E, Morren, has investigated 
the coloring matter of leaves, chlorophylle and erythrophylle, 
in (Bull, de la Societe Botan., and Rep. de Pharm., Sept. 1858.) 

Oil of Valerian. — M. Pierlot asserts, (Rep. de Pharm., 
July, 1859,) that the essential oil of valerian, whether recent 
or old, contains 5 per cent, of valerianic acid, and that recti- 
fied from potassa it is quite neutral, and wholly inadequate to 
yield more valerianic acid, by oxidation or otherwise. This 
assertion is quite contrary to the received opinion that the 
acid is naturally derived from the oxidation of the valerol of 
the crude oil. 

Salicin in the Oleander. — M. Landerer has found that the 
ethereal extract of the flowers of Nerium oleander, yields sali- 
cylous acid by distillation with bichromate of potassa and sul- 
phuric acid, as indicated by the reaction of the distillate with 
persalts of iron. — (Wittstein's Vierteljahrschrift.) 

Umbcllifcro7i. — C. Sommer, of Marburg, (Druggists' Circular, 
July, 1859, from Archiv. der Pharm., Apl., 1859,) describes 
this new substance, which is obtained from the ethereal ex- 
tracts of certain umbelliferous plants, by distilling them with 
water. The oil which comes over is agitated with water, and 
cedes to it an alkaline matter that is the substance in question. 
Its nature has not been well made out. 


OcnoUn. — M. Gleiiard, (R^p. de Pharm., Sept., 1858,) has 
given this name to a coloring matter from wine, having the com- 
position, C^WO^\ 

Oil of Cloves and Oxide of Silver, when mixed together, re- 
act, and sometimes inflame. Peroxide of lead also acts on 
it. M. Boettger. — (Jom\ de Pharm., Aug., 1859.) 

Vegetable Cells. — M. Fremy has examined carefully into the 
composition of vegetable cells. — (Pharm. Jour., Aug., 1859.) 

Determination of Talloio and Stearic Acid in Wax. — E. 
Geith gives processes for the analysis of wax when adulterated 
with these bodies, to which a note is appended by Dr. Biichner. 
— (See Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1859, from The Druggist.) 

Deter inination of Tannin. — Gustav. Miiller gives an im- 
proved process for ascertaining the amount of tannin in tan- 
ning materials and astringent drugs. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 

Ghjcyrrizin. — Dr. T. Lade has given a new analysis of this 
substance, which gives C^H-^0". — (See Ann. der Chemie and 
The Druggist, for July, 1859.) 


Liquor Ferri lodidi. — Dr. Henry Thayer, (Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., 1858, 391,) recommends that glycerin be used in pre- 
paring this solution, and that it be employed to effect the 
combination of the iodine and iron, which it controls and 

Dercsinifcation of Essential Oils. — M. Curieux proposes a 
mixture of solution of borax and animal charcoal of the con- 
sistence of a thick magma, to be agitated with old essential 
oils, to deprive them of resins and color, and to restore their 
natural odors. — (See Jour, de Chem., Med. and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., Sept., 1858.) 

Nitrate of Silver. — M. Henry Schoerer recommends the 
evaporation of the cupric nitrate of silver solution from coin 


to dryness, and then heating carefully till the copper salt is 
decomposed, when, by solution and filtration, the black oxide 
of copper is separated, and the solution of nitrate thus freed 
from copper is evaporated and crystallized. — (Rep. de Pharm.) 

Oxide of Silver Pills. — It is believed, (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
Sept., 1858,) that the intumescence which occurs in these pills 
at times, is due to the presence of grape sugar in some form, 
as the honey in conserve of roses. I. Paris Moore, of Balti- 
more, believes this occurrence to be due to tannic acid, or 
some other vegetable acid. — (Maryland Jour, and Trans.) 

Liniment of Iodide of Potass iian. — T. S. Wiegand, (Amer. 
Jour. Pharm., 1858, p. 406,) recommends the following for- 
mula: Take of sapo vulgaris, U. S. P., 3xiv., alcohol, 95 per 
cent., I viiiss., iodide of potassium, § iss., oil of garden lav- 
ender, 3 ss. The soap is dissolved in alcohol by heat, the oil 
added, the iodide dissolved in the water, and all mixed warm 
in a suitable bottle. 

Glycerole of Lactucariian. — Frederick Stearns, (Penins. and 
Indep., Sept., 1858, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Nov., 1S58,) 
gives a formula for this preparation, in which a pint of the 
preparation contains an ounce of lactucarium. 

Sijrtij) of Protocarbonale of Iron. — M. Dannecy, of Bor- 
deaux, (Bull, de Ther., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1858,) 
gives a formula for a syrup of protocarbonate of iron, in which 
this salt is held in complete solution by virtue of the sugar. 
Each fluid ounce contains 4 grains of the protoxide of iron. 

The Hijpojfhosphites. — Charles Bullock, of Philadelphia, 
(Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1858, p. 512,) gives a process for obtain- 
ing these salts, with phosphorus and sulphuret of barium as 
the starting point. 

The Fluid Extracts. — Dr. Henry Thayer, of Cambridge, 
Mass., (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Nov., 1858,) gives some general 
remarks on these preparations. 

Charcoal Paper. — MM. Pichot and Malapert have pre- 
pared a paper imbued with animal charcoal in layers. It is 


used as a filtering medium, and as a means of preserving 
substances from decomposition by enclosing them in it, which 
is effected, it is presumed, by the filtering action exerted by 
the paper on the air, to exclude germs of organic growth. — 
(Pharm. Jour., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Nov., 1858.) 

Collodion. — Alpheus P. Sharp, of Baltimore, recommends, 
in view of the uncertain strength of nitric acid, it being sel- 
dom over 1.40, to combine the acid process with that of 
Mialhe, as follows, viz : Take of nitric acid, § viij., sulphuric 
acid, § xvj., nitrate of potassa, § iv., cotton, §j. Dissolve 
the nitrate in the NO^, the SO' added, and whilst yet warm 
the cotton is imbued in it for three minutes, washed, air dried 
and dissolved in 30 times its weight of a mixture of 25 parts 
of ether and 5 of strong alcohol. — (Maryland Jour. Pharm., 

Arnica Cerate. — N. Hynson Jennings, of Baltimore, gives a 
formula for making this cerate from the hydroalcoholic extract 
from four ounces of arnica flowers, being incorporated in a 
fluid form with 10 ounces wax, 6 ounces olive oil, and heated 
till of the proper consistence. — (Maryland College Journal, 
Sept., 1858.) 

Elixir Cinchona. — Alfred B. Taylor, of Philadelphia, has 
published the following formula for this preparation, viz. : 
Take of calisaya bark |iv; fresh orange peel, §ij; Ceylon 
cinnamon and coriander, each §j: anise, caraway, cardamon 
and cochineal, each 5jj; brandy ojjss, macerate 24 hours, dis- 
place with a mixture of 3 parts water and 1 part alcohol, till 
ojjss have passed, then add ojjss simple syrup, and mix. Other 
recipes, not promulgated, had been in use before. — (Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., Jan., 1859.) 

Wild Cherry Pastilles. — William R. "Warner, of Philadel- 
phia, (see Amer. Jour. Pharm., Jan., 1859,) gives a formula for 
these pastilles, in which alcoholic extract of wild cherry bark 
(Cerasus serotina) is mixed with almond paste, gum, extract 
of squills, sugar and water, and divided into pastilles. 


Citrate of Iron and Strychnia. — C. A. Heinitsli (Amcr. Jour. 
Pharru., Jan., 1859,) notices this preparation favorably, but 
thinks the proportion of 1 of strychnia to 100 of the salt 
better than that of 1 to 50 originally suggested, and I. Abel, 
ibid, March, 1859. endorses this recommendation. 

Extractum Ferri Pomatum. — John M. Maisch (Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., Jan., 1859,) gives an expose of the European method 
of making this preparation, which is a crude malate of iron. 

Citromel and Tartromel of Iodide of Iron. — John Horncas- 
tle (London Pharm. Jour., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Jan., 
1859.) asserts that citric and tartaric acids, added in certain 
proportion to the liquor ferri iodidi, prevents it from being 
decomposed by the action of the air, and suggests prepara- 
tions with the above mentioned names. 

Preservation of Fluid Extracts. — See remarks on this sub- 
ject by John M. Maisch. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., March, 1859.) 

Sijrup of Ipecacuanha. — Prof. I. J. Grahame (Maryland 
Jour. Pharm., Dec, 1858,) recommends a modification of I. 
Laidby's process for this syrup with an alcoholic extract of 
ipecac. Graham's process is peculiar in the manner of pre- 
paring the extract, and of incorporating it with the sugar. 

Ferrated Tincture of Bark. — William S. Thompson (Jour, 
and Trans, of Maryland Coll. Pharm., and Amer. Jour. Pharm. 
March, 1859,) modifies this preparation by adding a syrup of 
citrate of iron and ammonia to the officinal compound tincture 
of cinchona. He finds that it does not precipitate, and per- 
fectly substitutes the preparation of Mr. Simes. 

Test for Chloroform. — M. Roussin (Jour, de Pharm., Sept., 
1858,) finds that nitro sulphide of iron is absolutely insoluble 
in pure chloroform, but colors it if the smallest quantity of 
alcohol, pyroxylic spirit or water is present. 

Preservation of Animal and Vegetable Substances. — A patent 
has been granted in England for a process for preserving meats 
and fresh vegetable substances by dipping them first in an 


aqueous solution of acetate of alumina and then in a bath of 
tragacanth and gelatin, followed by one of acetate of alumina, 
and then hanging up to dry. This is repeated three times. 
— (Araer. Jour. Pharm., March, 1859.) 

Pharmacy in Russia. — For an abridgment of an excellent 
paper on this subject, by Prof. C. Claus of Dorpat, by John 
M. Maisch, (see Amer. Jour. Pharm., March, 1859.) 

Nitro Benzole. — Dr. F. Mahla, of Chicago, (Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., May, 1859,) gives some observations on the prepara- 
tion of this substance. 

Protiodide of Mercury. — Roland Seeger, of Philadelphia, 
recommends protacetate of mercury and iodide of potassium, 
to make this salt in the best way. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 

Liquor Ferri Iodide. — Dr. Robert Battey, of Rome, Georgia, 
suggests resort to the coil of iron wire, in addition to sugar, 
as a. means of preserving this solution; and he prefers to 
attach the coil to the stopper of the vial, so as to always be 
at the surface as well as below. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 

New System of German Medicinal Weights. — John M. Maisch 
gives a tabular view (with remarks) of the new system of 
weights adopted by government in Prussia. — (Archiv. der 
Pharm., May, 1858, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859.) 

Preservation of Fluid Extracts. — See critical remarks on this 
subject by Henry Thayer, M. D. — (Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 

Steam Apparatus for Pharmaceutical Purposes. — J. R. Nichols 
(Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859,) describes a new steam heat- 
ing apparatus, illustrated with a cut, which is to a certain 
extent automatic. 

NeiD form of Suppositories. — Dr. Pfeiffer ( Pharm., 
March, 1859,) recommends butter of cacao to be cast in 
moulds with a longitudinal cavity in the larger end, into which 


the medicinal substance is introduced and then closed in. This 
enables the apothecary to medicate the previously prepared 
suppositories extemporaneously. 

SoluUluy of the Alkaloids in Chloroform. — M. Pettenkoffer 
(Rep. de Pharm., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859,) presents 
a tabular view of the solubility of 8 of the alkaloids in chlo- 

Chlorinated Lunar Caustic. — Prof. J. Lawrence Smith (Lou- 
isville Semi -Monthly Med. News, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
May, 1859,) gives his process for preparing stick lunar caustic 
with chloride of silver, to give it toughness. Henry N. Rit- 
tenhouse (in The Druggist of Cincinnati) states that accord- 
ing to his experience, the addition of common' salt to fused 
nitrate of silver does give toughness to the resulting sticks, 
but that this is attributable to the nitrate of soda formed, and 
not to the chloride of silver, as when the latter is added to 
the nitrate it does not have this effect. 

Soluble Pyrophosphate of Iron. — M. E. Robiquet (Rep. de 
Pharm., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859,) gives a formula 
for the preparation of this salt by dissolving hydrated pyro- 
phosphate of iron in citrate of ammonia and evaporating to 
dryness. It contains 64 per cent, of the former, and 29 of 
the latter salt. 

Tin in Distilled Waters. — M. Flack (Archiv. der Pharm., 
and Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859,) has shown that all dis- 
tilled waters prepared in a tin still, contain metallic tin. The 
slimy precipitate in distilled medicinal waters contains nearly 
all of the tin, and the greasy feel of the interior of the still 
head he attributes to the same metal. 

Rose and Orange Flower Waters. — See some practical obser- 
vations on these waters (in Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 1859.) 

Solution of Tartrate of Potassa, Ammonia, and Iron. — M. Car- 
rie states (Bull. Gen. de Therap., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
May, 1859,) that the addition of tartrate of ammonia and 


potassa to a solution of tartrate of iron and potassa, renders 
it capable of being kept without decomposition. 

Oiled Paper. — Dr. James McGliie, of the Glasgow Royal 
Infirmary, recommends oiled paper as a cheap substitute for 
oiled silk in surgical dressings. It is prepared by saturating 
thin strong paper by means of a brush Avith linseed oil, which 
has been boiled with litharge, acetate of lead, and sulphate of 
zinc, and burnt umber, in the proportion of from one to two 
ounces of each to the gallon of oil, and dried without heat. 
— (Pharra. Jour., Feb., 1859, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., May, 

Scammony Resin, obtained directly from the root. — In view of 
the great price of virgin scammony, and its liability to be adul- 
terated, Mr. Clark of Sockia, in Asia Minor, suggested to Dr. 
Williamson of England that the untapped dried roots of Con- 
volvulus scammonia should be extracted by alcohol. This idea 
has been carried out under a patent by Wm. McAndrew and 
Sons, and on trial of the therapeutical value of the resin thus 
produced by Dr. Garrod and others, it appears to be fully 
equal to virgin scammony of commerce. In a full account of 
this preparation, and of the medicinal experiments made with 
it, (see Pharm. Jour., March and May, 1859, and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., May, 1859.) 

Fluid Extracts ofBiichi, Cimicifiiga, Valerian, and Serpentaria. 
John M. Maisch has given modified processes for these fluid 
extracts in the Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859. 

Percolation. — W. Procter, Jr., has given some remarks and 
results in reference to this process in general, and Prof. Gra- 
ham's suggestions in particular. (Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 
1859.) Edward Parrish has treated of the same subject as 
relates to the use of glass funnels as percolators. 

Basic acetate of Lead. — Professor Rochleder states (Lon- 
don Pharm. Jour., Sept. 1858) that the use of a silver vessel 
greatly facilitates the solution of oxide of lead, in a solution 
of sugar of lead, as in making Goulard's extract. 


To prevent concussions on boiling in glass vessels. — Dr. G. C. 
Wittstein recommends a glass rod to be placed in the liquid, 
long enough to reach from the bottom above the surface ; and 
in liquids with high boiling points, like sulphuric acid, a platina 
wire of equal length is much better than quartz or fragments 
of glass. — (See Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859, from Witts. 

Fluid extract of Buchu. — Professor I. J. Grahame (Jour, 
and Trans, of Maryland Col. Pharm., and Am. Jour. Pharm., 
1859) gives a modified formula for this preparation, which 
yields it of double the ordinary strength. By a very slow 
and careful percolation of the buchu, previously reduced to 
quite a fine powder, he is able to get most of the valuable part 
of the buchu in the bulk of the three-fourths of the fluid extract 
to be made, which is reserved, and the precolation continued 
till the leaves are exhausted — evaporating the last liquid till 
it is sufficient to complete the required quantity of a pint from a 
pound of the leaves. The menstruum used is 2 parts of alcohol 
95°, and one part of water, mixed. 

Sulijhurous Acid. — E. P. Authon (Dingler's Polytechn. Jour, 
and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859) gives an easy process for 
obtaining sulphurous acid by heating 2 oz. of sulphur, 25 oz. 
of sulphuric acid, in a glass flask. The gas is given ofi' pure 
and uniformly. 

New process for deodorizing Spirits. — M. Breton has ascer- 
tained that by agitating alcohol, which is contaminated with 
fusel oil, with a portion of olive oil, the latter seizes upon and 
removes the fusel oil. Small quantities of alcohol may thus 
be readily purified, but in operating on large quantities, the 
spirit is percolated through a layer of pumice stone, previously 
soaked in oil, held between cloth diaphragms. — (London 
Cliem. Gazette, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859.) 

Preservation of Infusions. — Mr. Stevenson (Pharm. Jour., 
May, 1859, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., July, 1859) says that 


infusions in bottles, heated in a vessel of water until they 
expand to fill the bottles, and the water surrounding them has 
boiled ten minutes, if then closed carefully and quickly with 
moist bladder, will keep for more than twelve months without 
loss of taste or aroma, i 

Fluid extract of Valerian. — Professor I. J. Grahame has 
published a formula for this fluid extract, which is based on 
the same plan as that for buchu, noticed in the preceding page, 
and, like it, of double the officinal strength. See also a paper 
by A. P. Sharp, same Journal, March, 1859. — (Jour, and 
Trans, of Maryland College Pharm., June, 1859.) 

Aromatic Spirit of Ammonia. -^ See remarks by Jacob Bell 
on this preparation, as made by the London Pharm. (and U. 
S. P.) and also see a paper by Mr. Fichbourne (Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., Sept., 1859) in the same direction with a new formula 
for its preparation. 

Diluted Phosphoric Acid. — William S. Thompson, (Maryland 
Journal of Pharmary, Sept., 1858) gives a process for this 
solution, in which a porcelain dish is substituted for glassware 
in oxidizing the phosphorus. The author believes that the 
acid made by his process is superior to that made from the 
glacial acid, for pharmaceutical purposes. 

Acetic Syrup of Ipecac. — Joseph Roberts, of Baltimore, 
recommends syrup of ipecac to be made from a vinegar of 
ipecac, like syrup of squills. — (Maryland Jour. Pharm.) 

Extract of Rhubarb. — Professor I. J. Grahame proposes to 
make this extract with alcohol, .835 sp. gr., on the principle 
that it extracts all the desirable ingredients, with but little of 
the unimportant, and can be made with less heat. Tlie rhu- 
barb is reduced to a powder by a sieve of 60 meshes to the 
linear inch, and percolated slowly so as to get a very dense 
liquid at first. — (See Maryland Jour, Pharm., and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., Sept., 1858.) 


Syrups of Rhubarh. — A. P. Sharp. See formula for simple 
and aromatic syrup of rhubarb, both of which retain some 
alcohol, in Maryland Journal of Pharmacy, Sept., 1859. 

Distilled Water. — William S. Thompson, of Baltimore, has 
ascertained that water, which has 'had its organic impurity 
destroyed by means of permanganate of potassa befoi-e dis- 
tillation, will afford a distilled water that will keep without 
depositing the flocculcnt matter that is usually found in that 
liquid when kept some time. — (Maryland Jour. Pharm.) 

Oxide of Zinc. — Charles Caspari, of Baltimore, has given 
a paper on the preparation of this oxide by the apothecary. — 
(Maryland Jour. Pharm., June, 1859.) 

Fluid Extract of Yarrow. — Charles Tilyard, of Baltimore, 
suggests a fluid extract of Achillea millifolium, 8 oz. to the 
pint, made after the manner of Professor Grahame's extract 
of buchu, noticed at page 84. — (See Maryland Jour. Pharm.) 

Glycerole of Lead. — Charles Tilyard also suggests a mixture 
of 13J fluid ounces of glycerin, 2^ fluid ounces of solution of 
subacetate of lead, and half a drachm of camphor as a substi- 
tute for Goulard's cerate. — (See Maryland Journal of Phar- 
macy, June, 1859.) 

Unguentum Hydrargyri nitratis. — J. Paris Moore has sug- 
gested an increased proportion of nitric acid, and the use of 
olive oil for neat's-foot oil, in this preparation. — (Maryland 
Journal of Pharm., June, 1859.) 

Mel Rosce. — Professor Grahame has greatly improved the 
formula for this preparation, (see Maryland Jour. Pharm., 
June, 1859) in substituting diluted alcohol for water in 
exhausting the rose leaves, reserving the first concentrated 
solution, and evaporating the weaker liquids separately from 
the honey, till reduced to the requisite quantity, and then the 
honey is evaporated sufficiently to make up the measure of the 
formula when incorporated with the tincture of roses. 


Bitter Wine of Iron. — William S. Thompson, of Baltimore, 
(Maryland Journal and Trans., June, 1859, and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., Sept., 1859,) gives a formula for this preparation. 
Each fluid drachm contains one grain of Wetherill's extract of 
bark and 2 grs. of citrate of iron, with sherry wine as the 

Employment of Alkaline solutions in Extraction. — M. Dannecy, 
of Bordeaux, has broached the idea that alkaline liquids are 
appropriate for exhausting cinchona and other drugs con- 
taining alkaloids and neutral principles. He states that pre- 
parations of cinchona thus made are more tasteless ! May it 
not be inferred in this case that the alkaloids giving bitterness 
to the cinchona had been precipitated as carbonates and thus 
removed from solution ? In cases where apotheme exists 
largely as in cinchona this would be dissolved, but adds nothing 
to the virtues of the preparation. — (Journal de Pharmacie, 
March, 1859.) 

Elixir of Pepsin. — M. Mialke (Jour, de Pharm., March, 
1859,) gives the following formula for this preparation, viz.: 
Take of amylaceous pepsin, 6 grammes, 

Distilled water, 24 grammes, 

White wine of Lunel, 54 grammes, 

White sugar, 30 grammes. 

Spirit of wine, (of Montpellier,) 12 grammes. 
Dissolve and filter. Dose a tablespoonful. 

Glycerole of Tar. — This preparation made with 30 parts 
of glycerin, 5 parts of starch and 2 of tar, is a glycamyl im- 
bued with tar. It will be recollected that starch heated to 
about 300°F. in glycerin expands into a jelly and gives a con- 
sistence that has rendered it a substitute for simple ointment. 
(Jour, de Pharm.) 

Test for Oil of Cinnamon. — M. Ulex (Jour, de Pharm., 
April, 1859,) suggests that oil of cinnamon if mixed with oil 
of cloves, the latter may be detected by NO^, which solidifies 


true oil of ciDnamon and merely converts oil of cloves into a 
brown liquid. On the other hand potash lye solidifies oil of 
cloves if very concentrated, and does not so effect cinnamon. 

Soap as a deodorizing agent for Alcohol. — Prof. Kletinsky, 
of Vienna, has discovered that crude alcohol distilled from 
soap is thereby deprived of its empyreumatic odor. About 4 
lbs. of soap for 12 gallons of alcohol are required. Hard soda 
soap as free as possible from fluid oily acids is preferred. — 
(Jour, de Pharm., May, 1859.) 

Maniifacture of Glucose. — M. Anthon (Jour, de Pharm., May, 
1859,) has given some remarks on the constitution of com- 
mercial glucose, and on the presence in it of a substance 
intermediate between sugar and dextrine, not precipitable by 
alcohol and yet preventing the crystallization of the glucose. 

Tincture of Iodine. — M. Ant. Commaille, of Rome, (Jour, de 
Pharm., June, 1859,) having made numerous experiments on this 
tincture to ascertain what changes it undergoes by keeping, 
has arrived at the conclusion, 1st, that the iodine removes 
hydrogen and forms hydriodic acid ; 2d, that this hydrogen is 
not derived from the water ; 3d, that the oxygen ought to 
oxidize the carbon as there is no iodic acid formed; and 4th, 
that this alteration may be nearly altogether prevented by 
keeping the tincture in black bottles. 

Coffein. — M. Yogel (Jour, de Pharm., June, 1859,) pre- 
pares caffein by extracting the ground unroasted berries with 
benzine, distilling off the benzine, and separating the caffein 
from the fatty matter by means of water and crystallizing the 
caffein by evaporation and cooling. 

Fersulphate of Iron. — M. Monsel (Jour, de Pharm., July, 
1859,) gives his process for making this salt for use as a 
hoemostatic. W. Procter, Jr., (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept. 
1859,) continues the subject. M. Monsel's salt has the sulphuric 
acid in less proportion than the ordinary persulphate, being 
as 1 to 2J instead of 1 to 3. M. Monsel considers it impor- 


tant to have the salt and solution free from nitric acid and 
his process by using a slight excess of sulphate of iron accom- 
plishes this object. The solution has the specific gravity 

Bisulphuret of carbon is recommended by M. Lepage, of 
Gisors, (Rep. de Pharm.^ -Tuly, 1858,) as a menstruum for 
extracting curcumen and anchusin. He also states that 1 part 
of quinia dissolved by heat in 30 parts of this liquid will on 
cooling geletinize its consistence. 

Malic Acid. — M. Macquert suggests that the serviceberry 
tree (Sorbus orcuparia) be extensively cultivated in France 
for the preparation of malic acid from its berries, with a view 
to use in medicine as malate of magnesia as a substitute for the 
citrate of magnesia. — (Rep. de Pharm., Aug., 1859.) 

Pyrophosphate of Iron. — A report to the French academy 
of medicine on the pyrophosphate of iron of M. Robiquet, has 
been made by M. Bouchardat and others. — (See Rep. de 
Pharm., Aug., 1859.) 

Neio method of assaying the Cinchonas. — M. F. Grahe has 
ascertained that all true cinchona barks containing any of the 
alkaloids yield by dry distillation a volatile red colored 
matter, which is produced in proportion to the alkaloids 
present ; and he deems it not only a means of ascertaining the 
true nature of a bark, but believes it will give a means of 
quickly determining the relative value of barks from the cin- 
chonas. — (Rep. de Pharm., Oct., 1858, from Tydschrift voor 

Carminic acid. — M. Schutzenberger gives a paper on the 
preparation of this principle. — (See Rep. de Pharm., Oct., 


Benzole in Pharmacy as a Solvent. — M. F. Colmar, of Paris, 
after various experiments with benzole as a solvent in phar- 
macy, arrives at the conclusion that it is ineligible. 1st, be- 
cause its last traces require too much heat to dissipate, and 


2d, that it is difficult to remove the remains of its disagreea- 
ble odor. — (Report de Pharmacie, Dec, 1858.) 

Ohostearates of Mercury. — Dr. Jeannels calls attention to 
these salts in both a chemical and j)harmacological point of 
view, and gives formulas for their preparation and use. He 
prepares them by decomposing soap with nitrate of mercury, 
by boiling soap with oxide of manganese, and by boiling stearic 
acid Avith oxide of mercury and water, and washing the pro- 
ducts. — (Jour, de Mod. de Bordeaux and Rep. de Pharm., Feb., 

Test for the essential Oils. — M. Cazac, of Toulouse, (Rep. 
de Pharm., March, 1859,) recommends as a test for the purity 
of volatile oils, that they be placed in a small capsule in an 
atmosphere of nitrous acid gas, when the degree of oxidation 
that they undergo is so variable, that to a certain extent their 
purity or impurity may be inferred from the consistence of the 

Hydroscopic Extracts. — M. Lachambre recommends keeping 
the jars containing these extracts, each in a larger jar, with 
quick lime beneath to absorb moisture from the enclosed air, 
and thus dry them. 

Hydrometers. — M. Dorrault has been investigating the sev- 
eral scales of hydrometric tables used in France. — (Le Reper- 
toire de Pharmacie, May, 1859.) 

Bitartrate of Soda. — G. Adelmar recommends this salt as 
a substitute for citrate of magnesia as a purgative, and con- 
siders it much more agreeable than the neutral tartrate. — 
(Jour, de Cliemie Mdd., Jan., 1859.) 

Arsenic in Bicarbonate of Soda. — M. Piron has discovered 
arsenious acid as an impurity in bicarbonate of soda — in 
Brussels. — (Jour, de Chem. Med.) 

Lard has also been found falsified by agitating it with a 
weak solution of carbonate of soda. — (Jour, de Chem. Med.) 


Balsam Peru lias been found admixed with castor oil, and 
R. Wagner suggests the direct distillation of the mixture when, 
if castor oil be present, the distillate will contain onanthol. 
— (Jour, de Chem. Med., Jan., 1859.) 

Syrup of Lactu car iiim. — M. Gustin proposes to make this 
preparation by boiling half an ounce of lactucarium in a quart 
of water with 5 ii of nitric acid, in a capsule, renewing the water 
when neccssar}^, as it evaporates, until the nauseous odor of 
the lactucarium disappears. The decoction is then made into 
nine fluid ounces of syrup with sugar and aromatics, with 3 iss of 
syrup of orange flowers. — (Jour, de Chem. Med., Ap., 1859.) 

Bontigm/s Fumigating Powder and Paper. — The powder 
consists of 55.69 bisulphate of potassa, and 44.31 of nitrate 
of potassa, with peroxide of manganese q.s to color. It is 
used by projecting small portions on a red hot surface. The 
paper is made by dipping unsized paper in a solution of one 
part of nitrate of potassa and two parts of sugar in six parts 
of water and drying. — (Jour, de Chem. Med., Feb., 1819.) 

Acetic Tincture of Cimicifuga. — Dr. Koehler (Druggists' 
Circular, page 87, Ap., 1859) proposes a tincture of cimicifuga 
made with 5 oz. of root, 1 oz. of diluted acetic acid, 8 oz. of 
alcohol, and 11 oz. of water, by maceration. He considers 
that it has therapeutic merit deserving attention. 

Aqua Phosphorica. — Stanislaus Martin proposes to use wa- 
ter medicated by contact with phosphorus. — (Druggists' Cir- 
cular. ) 

Coniinn Leaves. — According to a writer on the new Bel- 
gian Pharmacopasia, (Druggists' Circular, Aug., 1859) conium 
leaves rapidly deteriorate by keeping, and that the mere efi'ect 
of drying is to deteriorate them. 

Bone Phosphate of Lime. — M. Dannecy (Bui. Gen. de Ther.) 
recommends the use of phosphate of lime obtained by boiling 
powdered beef bones with alkaline water till deprived of gela- 
tine -and fats and reduced to a pulp, washing away all but the 


finely divided phosphate, which is so fine as to be easily sus- 

Emulsions. — Dr. Robert Battey (Southern Medical and Sur- 
gical Journal) gives some practical remarks on this subject. 
— (See Druggists' Circular, Sept., 1858.) 

Fluid Extract of Veratrum Viride. — Dr. Henry Thayer (Bos- 
ton Med. and Surg. Journal) gives a formula for this prepa- 

Stramonium Ointment. — Prof. I.J. Grahame recommends a 
new process for this ointment analagous in result to that of 
Eugene Dupuy, of New York, noticed in the N. Y. Journal of 
Pharmacy. — (See Maryland Journal of Pharmacy, Sept., 1859.) 

Prussian Blue. — F. F. Mayer, of New York, has investi- 
gated several varieties of prussian blue, and also that known 
in the journals as " hydrocyanate of iron." He finds the 
latter to contain ferrocyanide of potassium, and to be soluble 
in water. — (See Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1859.) 

Protein as a Medicine. — Dr. J. C. Huff, of Wheeling, Va., 
has used this substance therapeutically in eczema and imj)etigo 
of children, and where the assimilative process is disordered. 
He gives 2 to 5 grains for a dose three times daily. — (See 
Amer. Journ. Pharmacy, Sept., 1859.) 

Soluble Citrate of Magnesia, see note on a new form of this 
preparation by Plummer and Kelly. (Amer. Jour. Pharm. 
Sept., 1859.) 

Syrup of Proto Phosphate of Iron. — For a formula for this 
preparation, see Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1859, p. 413. 

The weight of Drops. — Dr. J. J. Bernoulli (Schweizer 
Zeitschr. of Pharm., and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 442, 1859,) has 
investigated the weight of drops of dificrent liquids used in 
medicine. A Swiss drachm — 3.9062 grammes of each liquid 
was tested as to the number of drops it would yield. The 
result of sixty-three liquors is recorded in tabular form. As 
the Swiss drachm is equal to 60.272 troy grains, the results 


may be considered as applying to the troy draclim in use in 
the United States. 

Powdered Blue Mass. — Henry M. Rittenhouse offers a new 
recipe for this preparation, in which the mercury is extinguished 
in a mixture of powdered liquorice root and sugar, moist- 
ened, and the remainder of the liquorice root, powdered sugar 
and the powdered rose leaves added, triturated, spread on 
paper to dry and finally sifted. The result is the officinal pill 
mass, minus the moisture, the absence of which is made up 
with solid matter. — (The Druggist, and Amer. Jour. Pharm., 
Sept., 1859, page 477.) 

Liquor CinchoncE Hydriodatis. — T. E. Jenkins, of Louisville, 
proposes a formula for this preparation which consists of a 
solution of calisaya bark obtained by percolation, with a 
solution of hydriodic acid obtained by the action of sulphur- 
etted hydrogen on powdered iodine suspended in water. 
The strength is such that each teaspoonful contains the activity 
of 12 grains of cinchona and IJ grains of iodine in the form 
of hydriodic acid. Mr. Jenkins has also prepared 

Liquor Ciiichonce Hijdriodatis cian Ferro. — This preparation 
differs from the above only in having two-thirds of the iodine 
combined with iron as protiodide, whilst only one-third exists 
as hydriodic acid. — (See Louisville Med. News, and Druggists' 
Circular, page 128, June, 1859.) 

PilulcB. — For suggestions on the officinal pills (see Pharm. 
Jour., 1859, and Druggists' Circular, Sept., 1859.) 


It is proposed to give a record of the more prominent cases 
of poisoning that have occurred during the past year as an 
index for reference in research in this direction. 

Carbonate of Cadmium. — M. Soret (Presse Med., Belgique,) 
gives an instance of poisoning by the inhalation of the dust of 
this salt. — (Araer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1858.) 


Arsenious Acid. — Prof. R. E. Rogers, of Philadelphia, made 
a postmortem research for arsenic, etc., and found arsenious 
acid in poisonous quantity — subsequently on examining sub- 
nitrate of bismuth of the shops he found in a majority of 
instances that it was contaminated with arsenic. This fact, 
taken in connection with the fact that the patient, alleged to 
have been poisoned, had taken subnitrate of bismuth, acquitted 
the accused. — (See Amer. Jour. Med. Science, and Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., 1858.) 

Nicotlna. — Dr. Alfred S. Taylor, of London, gives the de- 
tails of an analysis resulting in the detection of nicotina in the 
case of a suicide. The chemical details are even more minute 

than those of Orfila and Staas in the case of Count 

in Belgium. — (Pharm. Jour., June, 1859, page 620.) 

Corrosive SuUimate. — A Miss White, of Chichester, England, 
drank a wineglass full of solution of this poison instead of 
camphor julep, resulting in death, in July, 1858. — (Pharm. 
Jour., Aug., 1858.) 

Cyanide of Potassium. — I. I. McCormick committed suicide 
by taking this poison in a melancholy condition of mind, death 
ensued so rapidly that no attempt was made to save life. 

— (Pharm. Jour., vol. xviii., 198.) 

Aconite Root. — J. E. Dubiggen committed suicide by eating 
the fresh roots of Aconitum napellus. He sank into a state 
of collapse in spite of the treatment to which he was submitted. 

— (Pharm. Jour., ibid.) 

Prussic acid. — A Mr. Ashcombe, of Hamstead, England, 
committed suicide with prussic acid. 

Belladonna berries. — Several children were poisoned, and one 
died, from eating these berries for mulberries, which a farmer 
had called them, careless of the result. — (Pharm. Jour., vol. 18, 
page 243.) 

Strychnia. — A young girl of 16, daughter of a surgeon, at 
Stepney Union, England, came to her death from strychnia, 


but under what circumstances it was taken could not be deter- 
mined. — (Pharm. Jour., 245, vol. 8th.) 

Cyanide of Potassium. — William Gordon, an oflBcer of artil- 
lery, at Sandgate, England, committed suicide with solid 
cyanide of potassium, which he had sent for to an apothecary 
for the alleged purpose of cleaning gold lace. — (Pharm. Jour, ^ 
vol. 18th, page 246.) 

Hijdroojanic acid. — Charles Cope, an apothecary's clerk, at 
Brighton, England, under the depressing influence of having 
married under unfavorable circumstances, committed suicide 
with an ounce of medicinal prussic acid. (Pharm. Jour,, 18th, 
page 245.) J. L. Blythe, a pharmaceutist of some note in 
London, and an analytical chemist at the time of his decease, 
committed suicide with prussic acid. Mr. Blythe lectured at 
St. Mary's hospital. — (Pharm. Jour., vol. 18th, page 247.) 

Carbonate of Lead. — A case of murder, by the adminis- 
tration of this poison, occurred in Gloucestershire, England, 
in Sept., 1858, of Thomas Taylor, by his wife. (Pharm. Jour., 
vol. 18th, page 293.) 

PhosjjJiorns. — A woman named Phillipon, near Roanna, in 
France, poisoned her two children with phosphorus derived 
from matches, in Jane, 1858. — (Lancet, Oct. 2d, London.) 

Prussic acid. — Joseph Skinner, surgeon, Kentishtown, Eng- 
land, committed suicide with this acid under the influence of 
intemperance. — (Pharm. Jour., vol. 18th, page 294.) 

Chloride of Barium. — Sarah Allen accidentally took a tea- 
spoonful of this salt for epsom salts. The poison had been 
procured by her employer for testing vinegar. Instead of 
giving sulphuric acid, delay was occasioned by a resort to 
emetics and the girl died. — (Manchester Guardian, Oct. 5th, 

Chloroform. — Pharm. Jour., vol. xviii., 295, records a case 
of death from the administration of this ancesthetic to a child 
8 years old. 


Oil of Bitter Almonds. — A laborer unloading a vessel acci- 
dentally broke a case of this oil. He got on his knees and 
licked some of the oil, though told its nature, and died at St. 
Thomas hospital. — (Pliarm. Jour.) 

Arscnious acid. — A wholesale case of poisoning occurred at 
Bradford, England, by this substance, in the following manner : 
A confectioner sent to a druggist named Hodgson, for a 
quantity of ^'daflf" (sulphate of lime.) The druggist sent his 
boy to the store room for it, who mistook the arsenic for it, 
and weighed 12 pounds, which was delivered to the confec- 
tioner. The whole of this, with 4 lbs. gum and | jss of oil of 
peppermint, was put into 40 lbs. of sugar and made into loz- 
enges. Various parties who had eaten the lozenges were 
sickened, and of these 200 cases were ascertained and 20 
deaths recorded. 

Cyanide of Potassium. — George Levin, aged 29, committed 
suicide with this poison, near London, on the 25tli of October, 
1858. — (Pharm. Jour., vol. 18th, page 343.) 

Prussic acid. — Two cases of suicide with this poison 
occurred near London — one a surgeon — the other a book 
publisher. This poison appears to be frequently resorted to 
by men of education who are led to this course. — (Pharm. 
Jour., Feb., 1859.) 

Syrnj) of P opines. — E. Freeman, an infant 18 months old, 
came to her death by the administration of three teaspoonfuls 
of syrup of poppies, by its mother. — (Pharm. Jour., Feb., 1859.) 

Colchicum Wine. — A druggist's boy sold this for antimo- 
nial wine, which caused the death of an infant 9 months old. 
The coroner's jury Jblamed the employer for the accident. 

Holhjberries (Ilex aquifolium.) — The Pharm. Jour, records 
a case of poisoning in a child eating 20 to 30 of the red berries 
of the English holly. The effects were violent vomiting and 
inflammation of the stomacli. 

Aconite Root. — A gardener, in distress of mind, dug up some 
aconite root and ate it with suicidal intent, — when too late 


for antidotes, lie told what he had done. On arrival at St. 
Mary's hospital, animal charcoal and stimulants were given 
unavailingly. — (Pharm. Jour., April, 1858.) 

Oil of Bitter Almonds. — The Times, (London,) March 1, 
1859, records a case of suicide by this oil in a man 39 years 
of age, from disappointment. 

Another case of poisoning occurred by oil of bitter almonds 
being given in a mixture with syrup of violets, by mistake for 
oil of sweet almonds, by an assistant named Taylor, in the store 
of Mr. Bowman, York, England. The deceased was 15 months 
old and took a teaspoonful. — (Pharm. Jour., May, 1859.) 

Arsenious acid. — Dr. Smethhurst, of Richmond, England, on 
May 11th, 1859, was tried for poisoning a lady, Isabella Banks, 
with whom he had been living. His object appears to have 
been money, and the peculiarity of the case was the association 
of the poison with chlorate of potash, which for a time baffled 
the chemist, who used Reinsch's process, but by adding a great 
excess of copper, it ceased to dissolve and the arsenical 
deposit was obtained. The deceased had been subjected to 
slow poisoning, and was under treatment by another physician, 
who became baffled, and finally suspicious, which led to the 
detection of the murderous process. She died May 3d. — (See 
Pharm. Jour., June, 630.) 

Corrosive Sublimate. — Charles E. White, aged 70, potter, 
committed suicide with corrosive sublimate. — (Pharm. Jour., 
July, 1859.) 

Frussic acid. — The same journal records two suicides with 
prussic acid, one at London and one at Liverpool. 

Caniharides. — Ziporah Royal, aged 21 years, it is alleged, 
came to her death by the administration of cautharides in 
a liquid form — though the identity of the poison was not well 
made out. The husband is the accused party, and the occur- 
rence took place at East Middlesex, England. — (Pharm. Jour., 
August, 1859.) 



Arsenious acid. — In the case known as the Kirkpatrick 
poisoning case, (see Amer. Jour. Phann., Sept., 1858,) Dr. 
Bridges detected arsenic unequivocally in a pie. The pecu- 
liarity of the case of interest to the toxicologistis the testimony 
of Dr. Rand used in rebutting Dr. Bridges' evidence. Dr. B. 
used Marsh's process, and the piece of zinc he employed was 
cut from a sheet which had been repeatedly tested and used 
with assurance of its freedom from arsenic, but which Dr. B. 
had not tested immediately before using in this instance. Dr. 
Rand gave it as his opinion that commercial sheet zinc gen- 
erally contained arsenic, and that a sheet of zinc anight contain 
arsenic in one ji art and not in another. This case points to the 
importance of invariably testing the zinc before the operation. 

Belladonna. — An apothecary's boy, in Boston, sold a woman 
some halmony (Chelone glabra,) as alleged, and the eifects 
were those of belladonna. It does not appear that an expert 
proved the identity of the leaves with belladonna — yet the 
court awarded $100 damages to the woman. — (Boston Med. 
and Surg. Jour., June 24, 1858.) 

An analogous case occurred in Cincinnati, where an apoth- 
ecary's clerk is alleged to have sold six ounces of extract of 
belladonna for that quantity of extract of taraxacum. There 
was no positive evidence to show that the article taken was 
that sold by the apothecary, nor was the identity of the 
substance taken, made out to be extract of belladonna, yet the 
jury awarded $2500 damages against the apothecary. The 
trial and analysis were made long after the alleged poisoning 
occurred, so that all recollection of the transaction, if it did 
occur, was erased from the remembrance of the apothecary. 

Strychnia. — A case of poisoning with suicidal intent oc- 
curred in Boston, in June, 1858, with this poison. Though 
obtained with plausible reasons from the apothecary, the 
coroner's jury reflected severely upon the party selling the 

Nitrate of Potassa. — Passercau, a confectioner, of Paris, 


obtained from the Pharmacie of M. Cazin a dose of Seidlitz 
powder whicli he took at night and after much suffering, died 
the next day. The powder sokl by the pharmacien was nitre. 
Tlie poison was sold by the son of the proprietor. The father 
was tried, fined 100 francs and condemned to one month im- 
prisonment. The son was aqquitted, the court taking the 
ground that he should not have been intrusted with the store. 
The deceased left a minor son whose tutor brought an action 
against M. Cazin, and he was adjudged to pay 200 francs dam- 
ages and an annuity of 200 francs to the boy till he arrived at 
the age of 16 years. — (Jour, de Chim. Med., Aug., 1859.) 

Fhosphorus Matches. — Dr. Fueffard (Jour, de Chim. Med., 
August, 1859,) gives a detailed account of three cases of death 
by this poison, with treatment and autopsy. The use of 
matches as poison arises from the difficulty of procuring poison, 
in France. Further remarks will be found on phosphorus 
poisoning in. the same journal for July, 1859, page 397, 399, 
and Feb., 1859, 77 to 87. 

JSicotina. — M. Augustus Melseus, of Belgium, has written 
an elaborate paper on the toxicological relations of this potent 
alkaloid and his experiments lead him to the conclusions, 

1. That nicotina can be detected long after death. 

2. That the conditions incident to slow putrefaction, at a 
low temperature and out of contact with the air, do not 
destroy it. 

3. That the salts of nicotina resist more powerfully the in- 
fluence of putrefaction, and that this base can be isolated in a 
way to characterize it completely. 

4. That at an elevated temperature in presence of the air, 
the results were negative and showed the volatilization or de- 
composition of the alkaloid. — (Jour, de Chim. Med., July, 

Lead Poisoning. — Dr. Prost, of Paris, has given a paper 
on this kind of poisoning. — (See Jour, de Chim. Med., July, 
1859.) . 


Marsh's apparatus. — M. Chevallier gives a case where 
Marsh's apparatus failed to detect the presence of antimony, 
and points out the precautions to be used before submitting the 
suspected material to its action. — (Jour, de Chim. Med., Ma}-, 

Bitter Ahjionds. — The proprietor of a drug store in Brussels 
left his store in charge of a boy and went to the theatre with 
his wife. On his return he found his house in possession of 
the doctor and priest, and his boy in the last suffering prior 
to death. Taking advantage of his master's absence he had 
prepared a beverage from bitter almonds and in sufficient 
quantity to cause his death despite the endeavors of his phy- 
sician. — (Jour, de Chim. Med., March, 1859.) 

Euphorbia Splendens. — A visitor at the greenhouse of M. 
Poulet, of Verriers, plucked a flower from this plant and inad- 
vertently put it in his mouth. In a few minutes the swelling of 
the tongue and larynx indicated that he had been poisoned by it. 
After a bad fright and some days' abstinence he recovered. 
— (Jour, de Chim. Med., May, 1859.) 

Cocculus Indicus. — M. G. Delia Sudda (Gazette Medicale d' 
Orient and Jour, de Chem. Med., April, 1859,) gives a detailed 
account of this drug and its active principle, together with 
cases of poisoning by it. 

Oxalic Acid. — Dr. Rul. Ogez (Jour, de Med. d'Anvers and 
Jour, de Chem. Med., March, 1859,) gives a full account of the 
symptoms and results of poisoning by this acid in the case of 
a woman 49 years of age, who went to a druggist to procure 
cream of tartar, aud a boy, who could neither read nor write, 
sold her oxalic acid, which caused death. 

Camphor and Ammonia. — See Jour, de Chem., M(3d. Jau., 
1859, for a detailed account of poisoning by '' Eau sedatif" 
with a notice of camphor poisoning following it. 

Indian Hemp — liachisch. — Prof. Schroff describes a highly 
interesting case of poisoning by Indian hemp, in the case of 


Dr. Heinrich, (Dublin Quarterly Jour, and Pharm. Jour., Aug., 

Essential Oil of Elemi. — Dr. Emil Mannkofif states (Brit, 
and For. Med. Review and Amer. Jour. Pharm., Sept., 1859) 
that the volatile oil of elemi is poisonous, and possesses prop- 
erties that may be usefully employed in medicine. Its for- 
mula is C'H*, and exists in elemi in about 6 per cent. 

Toisonous Effects of the Yew Tree Leaves. — It is stated in The 
Chemist, of London, that the leaves of the yew tree are de- 
structive to horses, causing violent inflammation of the coats 
of the stomach. 

Cyanide of Potassium. — The Nashville Monthly Record states 
that a New York daguerrean artist died in three minutes from 
the accidental ingestion of a small piece of cyanide of potas- 
sium, and the daily papers have chronicled the death of a child, 
who, playing about the room of a daguerreotypist, drank from 
a glass some solution of the same salt, and died in a few 

Gelseminum Sempervirens. — The Norfolk Va. Herald records 
the death of a child four years of age from sucking or eating 
the flowers of this plant. Death ensued in an hour after 
illness commenced. — (Louisville Med. News, July, 1859.) 

Strychnia. — T. G. Wormsley, M. D., of Columbus, Ohio, has 
given a paper on the chemical reactions of strychnia, with a 
view to their relative delicacy. He finds tannic acid, ter chlo- 
ride of gold, iodine, and bromine ; of these, iodine indicates 
the presence in the solution of one one-hundred-thousandth. 
— (Silliman's Journal, Sept., 1859.) 




This institution held the thirty-eighth session of its school 
of pharmacy from October to February, both inclusive, during 
the past season. Its matriculants numbered ninety, and its 
graduating class twenty-one. The faculty consists of Robert 
Bridges, M. D., Prof, of Chemistry; Robert P. Thomas, M.D., 
Prof, of Materia Medica, and William Procter, Jr., Prof, of Phar- 
macy. Since the spring of '38, when this institution lost parts 
of its library and cabinet by a fire, this branch of its interests 
has been revived with considerable animation. It is neverthe- 
less true that a great lack of earnestness characterizes this 
body in their collective capacity, as is manifested by too little 
interest in many of the great objects, to promote which the insti- 
tution was established, and in this relation they are behind some 
of their sister associations. 


This institution has continued its operations during the past 
year. Its school of pharmacy was continued last winter under 
the care of Prof Dorcmus on Chemistrj^, and Prof. Thurber 
on Materia Medica, Botany, and Pharmacy. Thirty students 
were in attendance, and one gentleman graduated after the 
session. The school has issued its announcement for the en- 
suing winter, by which we are informed that the same courses 
will be continued. It is to be regretted that our New York 
friends, in view of their great number, and of their superior 
advantages of position in reference to the drug trade, should 
not exhibit greater energy in reference to the cause of phar- 
maceutical education. 



This institution continues to flourish vigorously since the re- 
vival of its energies in 1855. The spirit manifested by its mem- 
bers, and the manner in which its meetings are conducted, are 
indicative of advancement. Its school of pharmacy continues 
to flourish, and is receiving much attention from the college. 
Previous to the last session Dr. Frick, Prof, of Materia Med- 
ica, having been elected to tlie same chair in the universit}^ of 
Maryland, Dr. Donaldson was elected to fill the vacancy, and 
who, with Prof. L. H. Steincr in the chair of Chemistry, and 
Prof I. J. Grahamc in that of Pharmacy, constitute the faculty. 
This institution withhold their diploma from students in whole- 
sale (or drug) stores, but give to these — on complying with 
the terms of graduation, except the examination in practical 
pharmacy — a certificate of proficiency. TJie ^- Journal and 
Transactions," published by this college, has been supported 
admirably by the efforts of its members, and, during tlie cur- 
rent year, has been increased in size to 48 pages quarterly. 


The aff"airs of this institution, as conducted by its Board of 
Trustees, appear to be judiciously managed. But, with the 
ample facilities at their command for a superior grade of in- 
struction in all the branches of a thorough pharmaceutical edu- 
cation, why are they not accomplishing more ? Why is it that 
so much apathy exists among the pharmaceutical profession of 
New England in all matters relating to a distinct scientific 
education for apothecaries ? We are informed that the Board 
have made three efforts to organize a class for instruction by 
lectures, but the pharmaceutical body have responded so coldly 
that they did not succeed, although the lectures were of a high 
order of merit. The question why they were not patronized 
should be answered candidly by our New England brethren. 
With general education unequalled elsewhere, and a natural 
acuteness of intellect, especially applicable to science involving 


manipulation, we are precluded from attributing this indiffer- 
ence to ignorance of the importance of special pharmaceutical 
instruction. The time and money required are a safe invest- 
ment both to the employer and the student, and deserve their 
earnest consideration. Why should not New England adopt 
the plan of Old England in pharmaceutical organization ? Let 
her members include the entire six States, with Boston as the 
central point. The effects of such a union might create and 
support a school of pharmacy, both practical and theoretical, 
second to none in existence elsewhere, and of whose good 
fruits we all might become partakers. 


There is cause to fear that our Cincinnati brethren have 
become lukewarm and lifeless as regards the advancement of 
their College of Pharmacy. The attempts hitherto made to get 
up a school of pharmacy have proved unsuccessful. Among so 
many energetic business men as may be found in the queen city 
of the West, certainly some vigorous leader should arise who 
could direct a portion of their efforts in a professional direc- 
tion. Such results as are desirable require a sacrifice of time 
and money in their accomplishment on the part of the founders. 
Cannot these be produced, and Cincinnati become a centre of 
pharmaceutical education and influence of the first magnitude ? 
The publication of a pharmaceutical periodical, as a private 
effort, marks the present year. Does not this corroborate 
the belief above expressed. 


Appears to have abandoned all efforts to continue its exist- 
ence as a professional body. 


This association has continued its operations regularly 
through the past year ; but, so far as we are informed, has not 


entered on any arrangement to make tlie association a teaching 


The Committee was not able to obtain any information from 
this association in time for this Report. 


At a meeting held Sept. 5th, 1859, in Chicago, Dr. F. Scam- 
mon was chosen Chairman, and J. M. Woodworth, Secretary. 

On motion, the following Trustees were duly elected : Dr. 
F. Scammon, F. A. Bryan, F. Mahla, J. D. Paine, S. S. Bliss, 
Geo. Buck, B. L. O'Hara, W. H. Milller, E. 0. Gale, L. F. 

A committee was then appointed to draft a constitution and 
by-laws, whereupon the following officers were elected : Dr. 
F. Scammon, President; F. A. Bryan, First Vice President; 
F. Mahla, Second Vice President; J. D. Paine, Secretary; S. 
S. Bliss, Treasurer. 

The Trustees were instructed to <take into consideration the 
establishment of a school of pharmacy, and to secure profes- 
sors as early as practicable, that a course of lectures might be 
given during the coming winter. 

The meeting adjourned to meet at the same place on Mon- 
day evening, Sept. 19, at 7J o'clock. 

It may not be improper to state in this connection that in 
March, 1857, at Melbourne, Australia, an association calling 
themselves " The Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria " was 
instituted. The Constitution of this body is modelled after 
that of the British Society. The union arose from an attempt 
by the medical profession to get a "sale of poisons" bill 
passed, which was successfully resisted by the chemists, and 
the fraternal feeling thus brought out was wisely turned to 
account in the establishment of the above named society. 


Efforts are making to append a school of pharmacy, and 
already they issue a journal under the auspices of the Society. 


The periodical literature specially pharmaceutical, has had 
some accessions during the past year. The American Journal 
of Pharmacy, and the Druggists' Circular, have continued their 
issues regularly since last report. 

The Journal and Transactions of the Maryland College of 
Pharmacy continues to be conducted in the right spirit, and 
has, during the current year, taken its place among the regular 
journals of the day, with its size doubled, being now 48 pages 

The Druggist, is the title of a monthly journal established 
in Cincinnati, at the commencement of the present year. It 
is in quarto form, with sixteen pages, three columns, each in a 
number, and is conducted somewhat in the style of the Drug- 
gists' Circular, as a union of science and business affairs. It is 
edited by Henry E. Foote, M. D., of the Ohio Medical Col- 
lege, assisted by E. S. "Wayne and W. J. M. Gordon, and pub- 
lished by C. Williams, 194 Walnut street, Cincinnati. 

The Druororists^ Review and Chemical Times, is the title of a 
quarto periodical of 8 pages, issued monthly in Philadelphia, 
from the 1st of May, 1859, by Ivan C. Michels, editor and pro- 
prietor, and devoted more especially to the drug trade and as 
an advertising medium. 

Journal of Materia Medica and Pharmaceutical Fornudary. 
Published by Tilden k Co., of New Lebanon, N. Y. Edited 
by Drs. Bates, A. Hutchins, and H. A. Tilden. This work is 
both medical and pharmaceutical in its scope, and contains 
notices of medical botany. 

Since the addition of a "pharmaceutical department" to 
the "Peninsular and Inde-pendent Medical Journal " of Detroit, 
mentioned last year, a similar arrangement has been made 


with the " Louisville Medical Neivs,'' by which this branch of 
medicine is placed under the care of T. E. Jenkins, Pharma- 
ceutist, of Louissille. 

The Quarterly Journal and Transactions ofilw Pharmaceutical 
Society of Victoria, is the title of a new journal devoted to 
pharmaceutical matters in Australia. Of the books relating 
to pharmacy and the sciences collateral to it that have been 
published during the past year, we do not deem it important 
to go into much detail. 

Fou-nes' Elements of Chemistry. — A new edition of this valu- 
able text book has been brought out this year in London 
under the supervision of Bence, Jones, & A. W. Hofl'man, and 
from this a new American edition, under the editorship of 
Prof. Bridges. 

Taylor on Poiso)is. — A new edition of this standard work 
has just been published by Blanchard & Lea, of Philadelphia. 

Stilles Therapeutics. — This long promised work, we are. 
informed by the publishers, Blanchard & Lea, may be expected 
in November next. It will no doubt be of much interest to 

Parrish's Practical Pharmacy. — A. new edition of this excel- 
lent work is in press, and may be expected in a few weeks. 
We are informed that extensive additions have been made to 
it, and the whole carefully revised. Blanchard & Lea, Phila- 

Headland on the Action of Medicines in the System. — Third 
American from the third English edition. Lindsay & Blakis- 
ton, Philadelphia, 1859. 

Selections from the Favorite Prescriptions of living American 
Practitioners. — By Horace Green, M. D., &c. New York: 
Wiley & Halsted. pp. 206. Octavo. 

The American Dispensatory. — By John King, M. D. Fifth 
edition. Cincinnati: Wilstach, Keys & Co. 1859. pp. 1475. 


Agricultural Chemistnj. — Campbell's manual of scientific 
and practical agriculture. Lindsay & Blakiston, Philadelphia, 

Familiar Letters on Chemistry, Liebigs ; edition, revised 
and enlarged. Edited by John Blythe. London, 1859. pp. 

Pereird's Elements of Materia. Medica and Therapeutics. — 
Fourth edition, greatly improved. The improvements made 
by Dr. Carson in the American edition, have been adopted by 
the editors, and the U. S. Pharmacopoeia has been laid under 
contribution. The work now extends to 2600 pages, noticing 
586 articles of Materia Medica. Longman Sc Co., London. 

Traite de Chimie Hijdrologique. — By J. Lefort, Pharmacien. 
Paris, 1859. pp. 622. This work is devoted to the analysis 
of mineral waters, the purification of drinking water, and other 
information relating to the subject. 

Manuel Pratique d' Analyse Chimique. — By M. Deschamps. 
(D'Avallon.) Paris, 1859. 

Traite de VArt de Formuler. — By MM. Trousseau & Reveil. 
Paris, 1859. 

Traite Elementaire de Physique, ChSmie, Toxicologic et Phar- 
macie. — By C. Parrot, Paris. 2 vols., octavo. 

i(' Officine ou Repertoire General de Pharmacie Pratique. — 
By M. Dorrault. Fifth edition. Paris, 1858. 

Annuaire de Therapeutique, de Matiere Medicale, de Pharma- 
cie et de Toxicologic, pour 1859. — By M. A. Bouchardat. Paris. 


0. A. Ziurek. Elementar. Handbuch der Pharmacie, mit 
Berlicksichtigung der saemmtlichen deutschen Pharmacopoeen 
und Medicinal verardnungen. Mit 197 Holzschnittcn, 8vo. 
ErlauR'en bei Ferd. Enke. 


Dr. 0. C. Ber<2: and C. F. Sclimidt. Darstellung und Bescli- 
reibung saemontlicber in der Pharmacopoea Borussica aiif gef- 
iihrten officiuellen Gewachse oder der Theile und Rohstoffe 
welclie von ilmen zur Anwendung komiuen, nach natiirlichen 
Familieu. Mit colarirten Abbildungen. 4^ Leipzig, Foerst- 
nersche Buchhandlung. 

E. A. Zucliold. Bibliotlieca chemica. Yerzeichniss der 
aufdeni Gebiete der reinen pharmaceut., physiolog. und tecli- 
nischen Chemie in den Jahren 1840, bis Mitte 1858, erschie- 
nenen Schriften. 8vo. Goettingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 

Handatlas saemmtliclier mediciuisch; pharmaceutischer 
Gewaeclise. Yon einem Yereine Gelehrter, 3, Auflage. 8vo. 
Jena bei Mauke. 

Die Heilkunst und das Apothekergewerbe ; ihr gegenwarti- 
ger Zustand und Yoeschlaege zu Reformen. 8vo. Friedrich- 
shafen bei Linke. 

Dr. H. 0. Lenz. Botanic der alten Griechen und Roemer; 
deutscli in Ausziigen aus deren Schriften. 8vo. Gotlia bei 

Dr. F. Miiller. Das illustrirte Krceutcrbuck. Beschreibung 
aller Pflanzen mit Angabe ihres Gebranches, Nutzens und ihrer 
Wirkung, nebst Anweisung zur Sammlung und Bebanung. Mit 
300 Abbildungen. 8vo. Ului bei Eisner. 

Dr. A. Schnitzlein. Icouographia familiarum naturalium 
regni vegetabilis. 4* Bonn bei Henry & Cohen. 

Herrmann Hager. Commentar zur Preussischen, Saech- 
sischen, Hannoverschen, Hamburgischen, und Schleswig. Hol- 
steineschen Pharmacopae. 2 vols., 8vo. Lissa bei Ernst Glin- 

Herrmann Hager. Manuale pharmaceuticum sen Promptu- 
arium, quo praecepta ad paranda medicamenta in pharmaco- 
poeas Yulgo non recepta, atque etiam complura adjumenta, et 
subsidia pharmaceutica continentive. Lissa bei E. GUnther. 

Dr. L. Eisner. Chemisch-technische Mittheilungen der 
Jahre 1857 und 1858. 8vo. Berlin. 


Die Charlatanerie und ilver Parteigaenger. Eiuc natur- 
■wissenschaftliclie coramerzielle Studie von Theofrastus Bom- 
bastus Paracelsus dem Jiingeren. 12mo. Wien. 


It has been usual, in previous reports of this committee, to 
endeavor to get some idea of the amount of drugs imported 
into the United States, and the several kinds. Early steps 
were taken to get the information, only obtainable from our 
examiners of drugs, but owing to the objection raised by im- 
porters at the port of New York, the secretary of the treasury 
ordered the discontinuance of the monthly list, found in the 
columns of the Druggists' Circular, and since July last, inclu- 
sive, only the gross values of each kind of the leading articles 
are published. If the names of the importers had been omitted, 
there could have been no reasonable objection to the continu- 
ance of the list, which was a valuable record. Prof. Aiken, the 
examiner of drugs at Baltimore, had promised to communicate 
some details regarding the drug importations at Baltimore, 
but illness in his family prevented its accomplishment in time 
for this report. Through William A. Brewer, a member of this 
committee, interest was made in the same object with Dr. Par- 
mentcr the examiner at Boston, but as yet no information h^s 
been obtained. It is intended, should the time permit, to make 
a tabular view of the importations of New York, as far as the 
records in the Druggists' Circular will permit, to be appended 
to this report. 

Dr. Morrison, examiner of drugs at Philadelphia, informs us 
that the amount of crude drugs imported into Philadelphia 
througli its port, is very small, nearly all being received here 
throngh New York and Boston. For the last twelve months he 
has not had occasion to reject a single drug, and for some two 
years before that, but small occasion occurred for the exercise 
of his rejecting power. There yet continues to be a consid- 
erable amount of chemicals imported from England and Ger- 


many, direct, but they arc by houses of the best standing. No 
opium has been entered at this port for more than twelve 
months past. Dr. Morrison says that the office of examiner 
of drugs is virtually abolished at this port, the duties being 
now performed by the appraisers ; himself having been trans- 
ferred to the position of appraiser. We have endeavored by 
inquiry, to get at the general character of the drug market of 
Philadelphia, compared with former periods. It would appear, 
as regards the foreign drugs and others, in their crude state, 
as ipecac, rhubarb, barks, etc., that they compare favorably. 
The article Chinese rhubarb especially, has been better, and 
the good effect of the drug law can be traced even under the 
present more relaxed exercise of its powers. There is, how- 
ever, much reason to fear that the business of adulteration in 
powders, volatile oils, extracts, and other modified forms of 
drugs has not ceased. The prices at "which powders, etc., are 
occasionally sold, renders it morally certain that they must 
have been tampered -with, and it is not difficult to find extracts 
quoted at prices equal if not lower than the cost of the crude 
material, if of the best kind. The general good character of 
the wholesale druggists of Philadelphia should cause them to 
ferret out those parties who are so lost to the interests of 
humanity, and their duty as dealers in medicines, as to partake 
in the profits of this disreputable business. 

The intensity of the competition in the sale of drugs, has 
caused the prices to be so lowered, that the fair dealer has 
but little margin in a large number of articles. Among the 
New England specialities, we have sought to get the statistics 
of isinglass and cod-liver oil. J. R. Gott, Esq., who is chiefly 
engaged in the isinglass manufacture, reports to Mr. Carnej', 
that the "demand is limited and sales decrease from year to 
year," yet no distinct facts "were given. All that is made is 
consigned to New York, and even the Boston market is sup- 
plied from the former place. Through the kindness of E. B. 
Phillips, Esq., who is the largest manufacturer of cod-liver oil 


in New England, and who took some considerable pains to get 
at the figures, Mr. Brewer is informed that 24,000 gallons of 
cod-liver oil are made annually, on the American shore, between 
Boston and Eastport, in Maine. 

Another subject of interest is castor oil. A few years ago 
the United States supplied quantities of oil to Europe. Now 
our chief supplies are obtained from the East Indies, (Cal- 
cutta,) where the oil is expressed and sent in 5 and 10 gallon 
cans. Each case contains 4, 5 gall, or 2, 10 gall. cans. The 
number of cases received at the port of Boston alone, during 
1858, was 5,260, and during the present year to Sept. 1st 
instant, 4,131 cases have arrived. Owing to the leakage in 
transportation, seriously adding to cost, the attention of sev- 
eral gentlemen has been turned to importing the bean direct 
from Calcutta, so as to manufacture the oil here, and not only 
save the leakage, but in great measure the duty, as the beans 
are entered as medicinal seeds, upon which the duty, if any, 
is only nominal. The most of the oil thus made, is produced 
at New York. Mr. W. H. Boyer informs us, that during the 
year ending Sept. 1st, as near as could be arrived at, 16,607 
bags of 3 bushels, or 140 lbs. each, had arrived from Cal- 
cutta, (50,000 bushels, or 7,000,000 lbs.) From the investi- 
gations of Wm. S. Thompson, it appears that the influence 
of the apothecaries of Baltimore has reacted favorably on 
the druggists of that place, and induced a greater attention 
to good quality in getting their supplies. As yet the manu- 
facture of pharmaceutical chemicals, for the supply of drug- 
gists, is very limited in that city, and many of the apothecaries 
have long been in the habit of making various of the finer 
chemicals in their own laboratories. The quality of the 
practice of pharmacy, in Baltimore, has improved considerably 
of late years, and but few persons are now engaged in the 
business who have not been regularly brought up. 

The Manufacture of pharmaceutical and other Chemicals, is 
carried on in Philadelphia to a far larger extent than in any 


other locality of the United States, and their general good 
character is admitted. Besides chemicals proper, there are 
establishments, where what are called " pharmaceuticals," are 
largely made, including extracts, powders, fluid extracts, con- 
fections, pills, citrate of magnesia, and other chemico pharm- 
aceutical solutions. 

The business of Manufacturing Chemistry is gradually ex- 
tending to other sections. New York and Boston have their 
establishments, and Dr. E. B. Squibb has commenced the 
manufacture of pure chemicals, especially for medicine, and in 
accordance with the pharmacopi^ia strength and standard. 
The additional price required to cover the cost of making 
many officinal preparations strictly by the standard will throw 
many of these out of competition. We may instance Oil of 
Wine, Hoffman's Anodyne, Spirit of Nitric Ether, as affording 
the heaviest contrast in prices with those of commerce. 

Chemicals are now manufactured at Cincinnati and at Louis- 
ville, giving indication that the enterprise and capital of the 
West is seekinsf new channels for its investment. 


It is, perhaps, properly within the province of this Report 
to notice briefly the ravages which death has made among that 
group of individuals who as a whole have been laboring earn- 
estly for pharmacy, or for the sciences on which it rests, and 
which give it uniformity and value. 

Souheiran. — This eminent pharmaceutist died at Paris on 
the 17th of November, 1858, in his 63d year. Soubeiran was 
at the head of the pharmeceutists of France, and was the 
first occupant of the new Professorship of Pharmacy in the 
Faculty of Medicine, one of the Professors in the School of 
Pharmacy at Paris. His work on Pharmacy is by far the 
most scientific treatise on that subject in French. 


Lassaigne, eminent as a writer and teacher of chemistry, 
and author of several works, died in March last, at Paris, in 
his 59 th year. 

Tulhj. — Prof. TuUy died at Springfield, Massachusetts, on 
the 28th of February, 1859. Eminent as a physician and 
pharmacologist. For many years he was in the Medical 
Department of Yale College. He did not live to finish his 
great work on Therapeutics. 

Jacob Bell, the untiring friend of English pharmacy, the 
foremost leader of that noble group of pharmaceutical chem- 
ists who founded and sustained the Pharmaceutical Society of 
Great Britain during her infancy and through her subsequent 
troubles, and the able editor of the Pharmaceutical Journal 
for 18 years, died on the 12th of June last, in the 49th year 
of his age. The history of pharmacy in Great Britain dur- 
ing the last twenty years, when it is written faithfully, will 
show how ceaseless and laborious were the efforts of this ex- 
traordinary man in promoting the advancement of every 
pharmaceutical interest. 

Hmnholdt, Bompland and Robert Droivn. — This trio of re- 
markable savans, whose labors have in various ways made 
the world their debtor, have paid the greatest debt of nature 
since our last meeting. As pharmaceutists, as students of 
the Materia Medica, we have so much to thank them for in 
view of their botanical contributions, that in common with 
all the world we render a tribute of acknowledt^ment. 

William Procter, Jr.,"^ 

Wm. S. Thompson, 

Wm. a. Brewer, y Committee. 

John Jackson, 
Ambrose Smith, 




The Committee on Weights and Measures has given the subject 
referred to it a verj careful and deliberate consideration. So 
grave, however, are the inconveniences attending any important 
change in the established system, and so varied and complex are 
the conditions to be fulfilled by any standards and divisions which 
shall deserve to displace it, that your Committee has with every 
step of its progress in the investigation felt only an increased sense 
of the difficulty and responsibility of the task. The general 
attention given to the question of a reform in weights and measures 
in all departments of trade, and among almost all classes of men, 
not only in our own country but in England, sufficiently attests the 
need that is felt for such reform ; while the great diversity of 
opinion expressed in the discussions flowing out of this agitation, 
and the number and incongruity of the projects sug'^ested as 
remedies for the existing evils, equally well attest the intricacy of 
the mechanism, and the insufficiency of all the schemes thus far 
proposed for its reorganization. 

It appears strange that while our calculations are universally 
made by a decimal system of arithmetic, (that is, by groupings of 
ten in a series of ascending orders,) not one of our various tables 
of weights or measures is based upon this scale, nor has even one 
of the multitudinous subdivisions of either of them by accident 
fallen upon the number 10 ; although almost every other number 
has been called into requisition, including various fractions.* 

* Thus 1^ tierces make 1 hogshead (of wine measure); 2^ inches make one nail (of 
cloth measure) ; 5^ yards, or 16J feet,make one rod (of land measure) ; i'-ili Troj^ grains 
make one ounce avoirdupois; — or 1.0948 oz. Troy are equal to 1 oz. avoirdupois. So 
incorporating the apothecaries' denominations with the Troy, from which they were 
derived, we have ll scruples make one pennyweight, 2^ pennyweights make one 
drachm, &c. 


Bj this incongi'uous and irrational system, we arc constantly com- 
pelled to resort to compound arithmetic, as it is called, to make the 
most trivial computations, and not unfrequently must reduce a long 
series of values to tlieir lowest terms, or rather to a common unit, 
by a process of multiplication and arldition, merely to render 
arithmetical calculations practicable, and then immediately re- 
convert the resulting amount to the original form, or to its 
largest units, by the reverse process of division and subtraction. 

Still more strange and embarrassing is it (as though these in- 
conveniences were not sufficient for the popular taste,) that so 
simple an idea as that of weight must be estimated by disdnct 
standards and divisions, — varying with the substance to be 
Aveighed ; and that the same terms should thus have com.e to 
denote entirely different values. As Mr. Adams has well stated 
in his valuable Report on Weights and Measures, — "The pound 
avoirdupois is heavier than the pound Troy; but the ounce avoir- 
dupois is lighter than the ounce Troy. The Aveights and measures 
of all the old systems present the perpetual paradox of a whole 
not equal to all its parts." That these great and glaring incon- 
veniences should have been so long tolerated, would appear sur- 
prising, did we not consider the wide extent to which the received 
denominations are employed, and the extreme difficulty of inducing 
any large numbers of men to abandon that to which they have been 
long accustomed, for an untried system, which, whatever its 
promise of advantage, would necessarily involve considerable ad- 
ditional labor, and much confusion in the attempt to adopt it. 
fndeed, so all-important is uniformity to the successful working of 
any system of weights and measures, that it may well be doubted 
whether any abstract excellence of method would justify the 
introduction of new scales or standards, unless they offered the 
prospect of a general adoption. This consideration is sufficient to 
remind the Committee and this Association tliat we can take no 
final action iii the matter ; that the only proper function of the body 
in this connection is merely to suggest such improvements as may 
be deemed expedient; — since only a political sanction can give 
the authoritative establishment to a code of measures, so vital to 
its efficient working, and its national acceptance. 



Diflferent projects in remedy of the existing and acknowledged 
evils su.ugest themselves ; some more practicable, others more 
systematic ; and unfortunately these two classes appear to bear an 
inverse ratio to each other. 

The most obvious improvement would be, in the first place, a 
restriction of all weights and measures to a single scale each, for 
all purposes ; — and in the second place, the substitution of deci- 
mal divisions, conformably to our established arithmetical notation. 
The old names might be retained, but with the new values necessarily 
derived from the changed proportions of the subdivisions ; and this 
would probablj' be the simplest and most feasible reform Avhich 
could be suggested, since all experience shows that, however much 
more rational it may be to assign new terms to new things or ideas, 
mankind is ever far more ready to adopt a change of substance 
than of form, and far more prone to transfer old names to new but 
analogous uses, than to accept an unfamiliar nomenclature expressly 
contrived for such new uses.* The following table adapting the 
received subdivisions and terms of apothecaries' and avoirdupois 
weights to a decimal scale would be sufficiently similar to the 
existing system, to probably present no great difficulty to general 
acceptance : 

Decimal Table of Weights. 

1 grain 

1 = 

(Troy Weight) 

1 gr. 

10 grains make 

1 scruple 

10 = 

^ scr. 

10 scruples " 

1 drachm 

100 = 

1 dr. 

2 scr. 

10 drachms " 

1 ounce 

1000 = 

2 oz. and 

2 scr. 

10 ounces " 

1 pound 

10000 = 

1 lb. 8 oz. 6 dr 

2 scr. 

10 pounds " 

1 stone 

100000 = 

17 lbs. 4 oz. 2 dr 

2 scr. 

10 stones " 

1 bund. wt. 

1000000 = 

173 lbs. 7 oz. 2 dr 

2 scr. 

10 bund. wt. " 

1 ton 

10000000 = 

173G lbs. 1 oz. 2 dr. 

2 scr. 

* Mr. Adams, speaking of the nomenclature of the French system of measures, re- 
marks: '• This is the part of the system which has encountered tlie most insuperable 
obstacles in France. The French nation have refused to learn, or to repeat these twelve 
■words. They have been willing to take a total and radical change of things; but they 
insist upon calling them by old names. They take the metre; but they must call one 
third part of it a foot. They accept the kilogramme; but instead of pronouncing its 
name, they choose to call one half of it a pound." — {Report on Weights and Measures, 
made to Congress, Feb, 22, 1S21.) 


This table, in its divisions at least, has been proposed by various 
writers who have suggested it, apparently, independently of each 
other. Considerable diiferences have however existed among these 
reformers, as to the standard of weight that should be adopted as the 
starting point in such a decimal scale. On this important question 
your Committee feels that too many varied interests are involved, to 
permit a hasty opinion or any decisive judgment at this time. Unless 
such a standard can be found as shall ultimately be universally 
received for all kinds of weight, a change would be productive 
of more evil than benefit. If we accept the Troy grain as the 
unit, (and from the great value of this weight in Pharmacy 
especially, and the vast amount of useful knowledge embodied 
in it, this would seem to be the one most important to be preserved,) 
we should have the relative values for each denomination exhibited 
in the preceding table. By this apportionment the largest weight of 
the scale, or the new ton, would be about five-eighths of the present 
ton ; or 1428^- lbs. avoirdupois. 

A peculiar beauty in the decimal system, in addition to the ex- 
treme facility it affords to all arithmetical operations, is the familiar 
property that it dispenses entirely with " reduction" ; all the units 
contained in any sum whether large or small, being apparent on 
mere inspection. Thus supposing the value above assigned to the 
new pound (1 lb. 8 oz. 6 drachms, 2 scruples) were a decimal 
expression, we might read it at once as 1,862 scruples, or as 186 
drachms and 2-10, or as 18 ounces and 62-100, — or as 1 pound 
and 862-1000, instead of having to make, as now, a special calcu- 
lation to ascertain each of these results. 

The unit of weight above selected as the standard of the table, 
namely, the Troy grain, appears to us as being, on the whole, 
preferable to any other of those now in use ; but there are no 
doubt many who would regard the present pound as the most im- 
portant for preservation and comparison. Accepting this, we 
should have the following table of relative values : — 


Decimal Standard the Avoirdupois Pound. 

1 grain 

0. -J 


(Avoirdupois Weight.) 

0.02.56 dr 

1 scruple 


grs. = 

0.256 " 

1 drachm 


" = 

2.56 " 

1 ounce 


" = 

1 oz 


1 pound 


" = 

1 lb. 

1 stone 


" = 

10 lbs. 

1 hund. wt. 


" = 



16 lbs. 

1 ton 


" = 

8 cwt. 



20 lbs. 

We have unfortunately no standards of weight in nature, and 
are therefore compelled always to refer ultimately to some unit of 
length, in determining or verifying the value of our measure of the 
former. Thus the standard unit of weight in this country, copied 
from that of Great Britain, is the Troy pound,* which is defined as 
the weight of 22.791422 cubic inches of distilled water at its 
maximum density (temperature 39. 8o degrees Fahrenheit,!) barom- 
eter standing at 30 inches ; the inch of this measurement being 
derived from the length of a pendulum vibrating seconds in a 
vacuum, at the level of the sea, — in Greenwich or London. Such 
a pendulum is divided into 39.1393 inches. 

Conformably to this system of decimal subdivision, the table of 
measures of capacity (dry and liquid) might be regulated as fol- 
lows, the standard unit being the ordinary pint of the United 

* The ancient standard of weight in England was the grain, — so called from being 
measured by the weight of a thoroughly dried grain of wheat, taken from the middle 
Qf the ear. The old silver penny was made to weigh 32 such grains, — hence called 
the penny-weight, the unit of the Tower pound. This new unit of weight was subse- 
quently divided into 24 equal parts, still called grains; which increased value has ever 
since been retained and known as " Troy weight." 

t The tempei-ature at which water is heaviest (or most contracted) is now pretty 
well ascertained to be much nearer 39° F. than 40° F., the number commonly assigned. 
In a paper by James P. Joule, and Dr. Lyon Playfair, published in the " Land. Ed. and 
DM. Phil. Mag.,'" for Jan., 1847, (vol. 30, p. 41.) 39°. 1 Falu-. is given as a mean result 
of a series of very careful experiments, for the maximum density of water, and as not 
probably in error the hundredth part of a degree. 


Decimal Table 

of Measures. ( Capacity.) 

1 minim 


0.708 vji. 

10 minims mak( 

; 1 scruple 


7.68 V)l. 

10 scruples " 

1 drachm 


1 dr. 16.8 ^. 

10 drachms " 

1 gill 


1 oz. 4 dr. 48 T^. 

10 gills 

1 pint 



IMeasure) 1 pint. 

10 pints " 

1 gallon, 


1 gall. 

1 quart. 

10 gallons " 

1 firkin, 


12 galls 

2 quarts. 

10 firkins " 

1 butt. 


125 galls 

(or 1 butt nearly.) 

This scale would be quite sufficient for measuring either liquid 
or solid bulks, and would advantageously replace the separate and 
double scales in common use ; for since the only idea involved in 
either liquid or dry measure, is simply that of volume, there is no 
good reason for modifying the designj^tion of the measure by the 
varying nature of the substance measured. If a " pint " may ex- 
press indifferently a measure of table salt or of milk — of sand or of 
alcohol — equally well may cither be measured by a " gallon " or 
by a " peck." By the United States standard, the " pint " is 
28.875 cubic inches, or the gallon 231 cubic inches, which is 
equal to 58,372.1751 grains of distilled Avater, at its maximum 
density, — the barometer 30. 

While the Committee is clearly of opinion that measures of capa- 
city are entirely too important and useful to be abolished — as has 
been recommended by some, the persuasion is equally strong that 
determination by weight Avould be advantageously applied to the 
measure of many articles at present usually determined by volume. 

As both weights and measures are necessarily referred to units 
of length for their standards, it is evidently a very important mat^ 
ter, in all projects for their revision, that the linear scale should be 
well determined, and its values accurately established. A reform 
in measures of length is no less needed than in those of weight and 
capacity ; and all are so connected, that the work of amendment, to 
be complete and efficient, should embrace all, commencing with 
the table of " long measure," as it is called, as the great starting 


Even so early in our national existence as the year 1790, the 
illustrious Jeflferson, then Secretary of State, in obedience to a reso- 
lution of Congress calling upon the Secretary to propose a plan or 
plans for establishing uniformity in the currency, Aveights, and 
measures of the United States, presented a report recommending 
a decimal system of metrology, and its derivation from a natural 
and permanent standard of length. 

We think Mr. Jefferson's Report possesses sufficient interest to 
justify a copious extract ; and regarding his decimal project as one 
of considerable merit, wc shall present his tables entire. 

" To obtain uniformity in measures, weights, and coins, it is 
necessary to find some measure of invariable length, with which as 
a standard, they may be compared. There exists not in nature, as 
far as has been hitherto observed, a single subject or species of 
subject accessible to man, which presents one constant and uniform 
dimension. The globe of the earth itself indeed might, be consid- 
ered as invariable in all its dimensions, and that its circumference 
would furnish an invariable measure ; but no one of its circles, 
great or small, is accessible to admeasurement through all its parts, 
and the various trials to measure definite portions of them, have 
been of such various result as to show there is no dependence on 
that operation for certainty. Matter, then, by its mere extension 
furnishing nothing invariable, its motion is the only remaining 

Mr. Jefferson then refers to a mean solar rotation of the earth, 
as famishing us through the second's pendulum, with a measure of 
length convenient and reliable, and accessible to every one. He 
acknowledges that " even the pendulum is not without its uncer- 
tainties, and he alludes to the difficulty of its precise determination, 
as well as the variations in its measure arising from differences of 
latitude, altitude, barometric and thermometric conditions, and 
lastly the disturbance of the driving mechanism (in the case 
of an attached pendulum) — impossible to be exactly determined. 
lie recommends the latitude of forty-five degrees, then recently 
proposed in Europe as a suitable point, and the mean temperature 
of the year at that location. 


Instead, however, of taking the ordinary pendulum of 39 inches, 
he proposes the second's rod of 5 feet, then generally known as 
Leslie's pendulum rod. A simple straight rod without the bob or 
ball, suspended at one end, has, as is well known, its centre of 
oscillation at a distance of two-thirds of its length from its point of 
suspension ; or, in other words, is one half longer than the com- 
mon loaded pendulum vibrating in the same time. Such a rod 
vibrating seconds, is 58.72 inches. 

" Let the standard of measure, then, be a uniform, cylindrical 
rod of iron, of such length as in latitude 45°, at the level of the 
ocean, and in a cellar or other place, the temperature of which 
does not vary through the year, shall perform its vibrations in small 
and equal arcs in one second of time. A standard of invariable 
length being thus obtained, we may proceed to identify by that, 
the measures, weights, and coins of the United States. But here 
a doubt presents itself as to the extent of the reformation meditated 
by the House of Representatives. The experiment made by Con- 
gress in tbe year 1786, by declaring that there should be one 
money of account and payment through the United States, and 
that its parts and multiples should be in a decimal ratio, has ob- 
tained such general approbation both at home and abroad, that 
nothing seems wanting but the actual coinage to banish the dis- 
cordant pounds, shillings, pence and farthings of the different 
States, and to establish in their stead the new denominations. Is 
it in contemj/lation with the House of Representatives to extend a 
like improvement to our measures and weights, and to arrange them. 
al>o in a decimal ratio ? The facility which this would introduce 
int> the vid.'ar aritlnnetic, would unquestionably, be soon and sen- 
sibly felt by the whole mass of the people, who would thereby be 
enabled to compute for themselves whatever they should have occa- 
sion to buy, to sell, or to measure; which the present complicated 
and difficult ratios place beyond their computition for the most 
part. Or, is it the opinion of the Representatives that the diffi- 
culty of changing the established habits of a whole nation opposes 
an insuperable bar to this improvement? Under this unccitainty 
the Secretary of State thinks it his duty to submit alternative 


plans, that the House may at their will adopt either the one or the 
other, exclusively, or the one for the present, and the other for a 
future time, when the public mind may be supposed to have become 
familiarized to it." 

The first plan proposes to retain the existing measure?, referring 
them merely to the uniform natural standard. " Let the standard 
rod (of J 5°) be divided into 587j equal parts, and each declared 
to be a line ; — 10 lines an inch, 12 inches a foot," &c. In the 
tabL' of measures of capacity, no change is suggested, except " to 
fix the gallon to one determinate capacity, as the unit of measure — 
both wet and dry : for convenience is in favor of abolishing the dis- 
tinction between wet and dry measures." As a convenient com- 
promise for the gallon, 270 cubic inches is proposed as its measure. 
In the table of weights, he remarks, " it would be convenient to 
suppress the pound and ounce Troy, and the drachm and quaiter 
avoirdupois ; and tD form into one series the avoirdupois pound 
and ounce, and the Troy pennyweight and grain." Dividing the 
avoirdupois ounce into 18 pennyweights, the new pennyweight 
would contain between a third and a quarter of a grain more than 
the present. The standard of weight proposed, is that of a cubic 
tenth of a foot, (or the thousandth part of a cubic foot) of rain 
water, to determine and constitute the ounce. 

Mr. Jefferson's second plan — (supposing a more thorough re- 
formation is contemplated,) advocates a decimal division of aU 
measures. " The unit of [linear] measure is stiU that which must 
frive law throujirh the whole svstem ; and from whatever unit we 
set out, the coincidences between the old and new ratios will be 
rare. AU that can be done wiU be to choose such a unit as will 
produce the most of these. In this respect, the seconds' rod has 
been found on trial to be far preferable to the seconds' pendulum." 

Assuming, then, Leslie's seconds' rod of 58.72368 inches as his 
standar(l, and dividing it into five equal parts, Mr. Jefferson takes 
this fifth part, or 11.744736 inches as the length of the new "foot." 
From this is derived the foUowins table : — 

1 point 

10 points n 

lake 1 line 

10 linos 

■' 1 inch 

10 inches 

" 1 foot 

10 feet 

" 1 decad 

10 decads 

" 1 rood 

10 roods 

" 1 furlono; 

10 fuilon2;& 

" 1 mile 


Decimal Table of Long Pleasure. 
= .011 in. 

.117 in. 
1.174 ins. 
11.74473G ins. i^l foot.) 
9.787 feet. 
07.872 " 
978.728 " (11 furlongs.) 
9787.28 " (1« miles.) 
The proposed measures cf capacity are derived from t!ie cube of 
the new "foot;" this cubic "foot" (containing 1620 cubic 
inches,) the standard" bushel" — being about one fouith less' than 
the ihen medium En<:lish bushel. The table is as follows : — 

Decimal Table of Capacity/ Measure. 

1 meter = 1 cubic inch (n. s.) or 1.G2 cub. in. 

10 meters make 1 demi-pint = 2 x 2 x 2-| ins. (n. s.) or 16 2 cub. in. 
10 demi-pints " 1 pottle =5x5x4 ins. (n. s ) or 162. cub. in. 
10 pottles " 1 bushel =10 x 10 x 10 ins. (n. s.) 
10 bushels " 1 quarter = 9.375 cubic feet. 

10 quarters " 1 last = 93.753 cubic feet. 

This table is intended for both liquid and dry measure. The 
" pottle " is about one sixth more than the English measure of that 
Kama. The "quarter" is about one fifth less, and the "last" 
about one seventh more than the English. 

The standard of weight is derived from the preceding mensures, 
by taking one cubic " inch " (n. s.) or one " meter " of rain water, 
to be called the " ounce " (n. s.) Its weight is f oz. TVoy, or {^ 
oz. avoirdupois. The following is the table : — 

Decimal Table of Weights, 

1 mite = .041 grains Troy. 

10 mites make 1 minim = .4101 " 

10 minims " 1 carat = 4.101 " 

10 carats " 1 double-scruple = 41.017 

10 double-scruples " 1 ounce = 410.17 " 

10 ounces " 1 pound = .5859 lb. av. (|lb. tr.) 

10 pounds " 1 stone = 5.8595 lbs. " 

10 stones " 1 kcntal = 58.5957 " " 

10 kentals " 1 bo'jshead = 585.9574 " " 


When "\vc reflect that the system of metrolo;:;y here displayed 
was perfected by Mr. Jefferson before any steps had been taken 
by the French governmetit to\Yard the decimal re-jrganization of 
V. eights and measures in that country, we must regard it as a me- 
morial in the highest degree creditable to the judgment and con- 
triving skill of its author ; and as one of many illustrations of the 
varied activity of his mini, and of the interest he ever felt in aU 
schemes for human improvement. The great superiority of his 
proposed scales of measure, to those in common use, cannot be 
questioned ; and their adoption would have been a real and signal 
public benefit. The tables above presented, form a connected and 
complete system, each depending directly upon the one preceding, 
and necessarily flowing out of it, and all determined from a s'n^le 
and invariable natural standard by a very simple and beautil'ul 
mode of derivation. 

In this respect however, the French system is by far the best of 
all that have yet been devised. Starting with a carefully measured 
quadrant of the earth's meridian, and dividing it into 10 million parts, 
this system presents us with a " metre " * as a universal standard 
to which all others may be referred. Indeed, if a decimal system 
of weights and measures is to be ultimately adopted, there appears 
to be none that has such just claims to our acceptance as that of 
the French ; and although it would be much more difficult of popu- 
lar introduction than a simple decimalization of our own divisions, 
as previously indicated, and therefore less " practicable," your 
Committee does not hesitate to express the opinion that it would be 
in every way superior, both in regard to the precision of its meas- 
ures, and the simple and philosophical character of its divisions ; 
besides all which it has the immense advantage of being already 
introduced and in successful practical operation throughout the 
great empire of Fiance ; and every extension of its use would be 
an important step in the progress toward a uniform system among 
all nations. t 

* Equal to 39 370788 inclics; very nearly the length of the second's pendulum, and 
not much longer than our yard. 

t In the Report made by Prof. A. D. Bache, Superintendent of Weights and Pleas- 
ures, to the Secretary of the Treasury, Dec. 30, 1856, it is stated that the French 
metrical sysrem " has extended widely beyond the boundaries of France, and has 
been adop'ed by hiw in Spain, Belgium, Greece, Holland, Lombardy, Poland) and 
Switzerland, in Europe, — and Chili and Mexico, on this continent." (Page 87.) 


The scales of length, measure, and weight, with their respective 
values, may as well be here presented : 

French Table of Lengths. 

1 millimetre 0.03937 in. 

10 millimetres = 1 centimetre 0.89370 in. 

10 centimetres = 1 decimetre 8.93707 ins. 

10 decimetres = 1 metre 1 yd. 8.37079 " 

10 METRES = 1 decametre 10 yds. 2 ft. 9.7078 " 

10 decametres = 1 hectometre 109 yds. 1 ft. 1.0788 " 

10 hectometres = 1 kilometre 1098 yds. 1 fc. 10.788 

10 kilometres = 1 myriametre 6 miles 376 yds. 11.88 • " 

The unit of capacitj is derived from the tenth part of the METRE, 
being the cubic decimetre, and is called a litre. This gives the 
following scale of values : 

French Table of Pleasures. ( Capacity.') 
1 millilitre 
10 millilitres ^ • 1 centilitre 2 drs. 

10 centilitres = 1 decilitre 3 oz. 3 drs. 

10 decilitres = 1 litre 2 pts. 1 oz. 6 drs. 

10 LITRES = 1 decalitre 2 galls. 5 pts. 2 oz. 1 dr. 

10 decaUtres = 1 hectolitre 26 galls. 3 pts. 5 oz. 5 drs. 
10 hectolitres = 1 kilolitre 264 galls. 1 pt. 8 oz. 2 drs. 
10 kilolitres = 1 myrialltrc 2611 galls. 7 pts. 3 oz. 1 dr. 

The unit of weight, is one millilitre (a cubic centimetre) of dis- 
tilled Avater, in a vacuum, at its maximum dens'tj, (39° Fahr.) 
This unit of weight is called the gramme, giving the following 

scale : 

French Table of Weights. 

1 milligramme 0.0154 grs. 

10 milligrammes = 1 centigramme 0.1548 grs. 

10 centigrammes = 1 decigrainme 1.5434 grs. 

10 decigrammes = 1 gramme 15.434 grs. 

10 GRA.MME3 = 1 decagramme 2 dr. 1 scr. 14.3 grs. 

10 decagrammes = 1 hectogramme 3 oz. 1 dr. 2 scr. 3.4 grs. 

10 hectogrammes = 1 kilogramme 2 lbs. 8 oz. 1 dr. 14. grs. 

10 kilogrammes = 1 myriagrammc, 26 lbs. 9 oz. 4 dr. 1 scr. 



42.3180 m. 














Beautiful and simple as this system appears, and clear as its 
nomenclature is to those familiar with the Greek and Latin 
tongues, it is yet open to animadversion on practical grounds, in 
that its language is that of the philosopher, and not of the trades- 
man or the business man. To all but classical scholars — that is, 
to the large majority of men, — the terms used in all the above 
tables are difficult and unmeaning ; to be acquired and appreciated 
only by a laborious effort of abstract memory, and even when thus 
acquired, constantly liable to be confounded and mistaken. Its 
metres and litres, its myriametres and myrialitres, its decigrammes 
and decagrammes, are admirably contrived to bewilder the uniniti- 
ated, but of all possible devices are the least adapted to the com- 
mon uses of daily life. To obtain a ready and direct apprehension 
of the values of different denominations of measure, it is necessary 
that each should be recognized as an independent unit, without 
any reference to its fractional or multiple derivation. Thus, 
"ounces" or "inches" are at once seized upon by the mind as 
distinctive standards of value ; and the fact that these terras both 
signify "twelfths" (being derived from the Latin "uncia") never 
enters into our contemplation when using them. The coin a 
"cent" has come to signify a "one" and not a "hundredth." 
What is really needed then for the popular service, is a set of 
names, brief, easy, and distinctive by a wide separation of sound, 
however arbitrary or unmeaning may be their origin. In this view 
of the matter, the rude and indefinite vulgarisms of " grains " and 
" scruples," " feet" and " rods," " gills " and " gallons," are in- 
finitely preferable to the scientific jargon of centigrammes and 
milliijrammes, and hectogrammes and kilogrammes. In fact, the 
French system has totally ignored all units, excepting the single 
one selected as the standard for each table. Thus in weight, the 
French cannot be said to have any other measure than the 
gramme ; and instead of resorting to the dead languages for so 
familiar a thing as a simple numeration table, it would be much 
better to speak of and write down, the multiples or divisions of this 
weight as a thousand or a hundred grammes, or as so many hun- 
dredths or thousandths of a gramme. This, in plain English (or 


]ilain French) would be understood by every one, and would just 
as conveniently express every thing that is contained in the high 
sounding terms we have characterized as " scientific jargon." * 
Should these measures be therefore introduced, we should strongly 
urge the entire abolition of the French nomenclature, and the com- 
plete naturalization of the difl&^rent scales by the substitution of 
more familiar terms from our vernacular tongue. This is precisely 
what has been done in Holland, which has adopted the French 
measures entire, since lbl7, but has applied to them the old and 
native designations of the country, — the English apothecaries' 
weight being, however, still retained. In Belgium, also, the same 
method has been pursued. 

A practical defect in the working of this system which has been 
demonstrated by experience, is its incapability of binary divisions ; 
a defect Avhich of course attaches equally to every decimal scale ; 
and one which has always strikingly displayed itself Avherever this 
scale has been brought into popular use, either for the estimation of 
lengths, bulks, weights or values. In our own country the decimal 
scale has been applied only to the currency, and we find that in 
spite of the legal division of the dollar into tenths, and its seeming 
establishment by the coinage and circulation of dimes, — the peo- 
ple persist in cutting it up into quarters, eighths, sixteenths, and 
even thirty-seconds, to the utter neglect of the coins actually estab- 
lished by law, and to the inconvenience, confusion, and loss, result- 
ing from the necessary involvement of interminable and unmanage- 
able fractions. And yet in every department of trade, the current 
prices are derived exclusively from this process of successive halv- 

* While thus strongly expressing our objection to the nomenclature of the French 
tables, (whose very fault is its excess of system,) it would be unjust not to acknowl- 
edge, and ungenerous not to admire, the catholic sentiment which dictated it. The 
eminent philosophers to whom belongs the honor of developing a metrology by far the 
most perfect that has yet been devised, felt as if they were legislating for the civilized 
world. Desirous that all might have the benefit of their labors, they rejected all the 
familiar terms employed in France, and naturally resorted to the great storehouse from 
which the scientific world has ever been accustomed to draw its technical phraseology; 
exhibiting in this, their anxiety to adopt a langunge which might be acceptable to all 
nntior.s. Unfortunately, it is suited to none. The language of science cannot be that 
of the shop and the market-place. 


ing, never from the process of tithing as ordained and defined by 
law. The modern coinage of the thirty-second of a dollar, — a 
three-cent piece, a coin " without a name " as it is without a 
place in any decimal scale, — may be regarded as a feeble and im- 
perfect recognition by law of the insufficiency of our much admired 
and boasted decimalization of moneys to meet the actual wants 
and necessities of trade and daily business life. 

Many have supposed that this is all a matter of practical indif- 
ference, and that it merely requires the decisive sanction of legis- 
lative authority to accustom a people to any set of subdivisions. 
Such an opinion, however, exhibits both a blindness to the lessons 
of all experience, and an inattention to many of the most important 
and subtle theoretical considerations affecting the relations of value 
and our apprehension thereof. 

Binal progression may be regarded as preeminently the natural 
scale of division. This fundamental fact is indeed illustrated in the 
very origin of the word division. The binary scale is in the first 
place the lowest and simplest of all the geometrical progressions. 
It is that of which we have the most ready and precise conception ; 
indeed, it may be said to be the only one of which we have any 
accurate appreciation beyond the second or third term.* It is that 
by which we most rapidly and nearly approach any vague quantity 
we may desire to employ ; hence its universal use in trade. It is 
that which in any system of independent units of measure (as in 
weights, or coins) furnishes us with the means of representing the 
greatest range of particular values, by the smallest number of 
pieces. It is that which affords us the easiest practical measure ; 
thus we can fold a string, a sheet of paper, or any other flexible 
material, or we can cut an apple, or a loaf of bread, at once and 
with great precision into halves, quarters, and eighths, while we 
should have to make repeated trials to divide the same into thirds 
or fifths, and then attain the result only tentatively and approxi- 
mately. And lastly, it appears to be the most natural of scales, 

* Thus, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, &c., can be readily apprehended as repeated doublings, 
— ■while 1, 3, 9, 27, 81, &c., leave the mind confused in the attempt to follow up suc- 
cessive triplings. 


from the very common use of the two hands in separating objects 
into pairs.* 

Such being the claims then, of the binary scale of geometrical 
progression, and such its obvious advantages over all others, it is 
not surprising that this should be found to be practically the preva- 
lent mode of distributing the more common weights and measures 
throughout the world, whatever may be the multiples or divisions 
enacted by law. 

The Roman weights, in general use throughout the empire (that 
is, throughout the civilized world) for some centuries after the 
Christian era, were, by means of intermediate subdivisions (intro- 
duced by the common consent of traders) practically distributed 
upon a binary scale. The smallest weight was the lens or jjrimus 
(equal to about three quarters of a Troy grain) of which 18 made 
one -quadrans, (the quarter drachm) ; 2 of these made 1 dhnidium, 
(half drachm) ; 2 of these made 1 drachma, (very nearly our 
drachm) ; 2 drachmae made 1 sicilicus or siclus ; 2 of these made 
1 semiuncia or as sari us ; and 2 of these made 1 uncia, the 
twelfth part of the libra or pound. So with the divisions in univer- 
sal use at the present day; we find that a nest of avoirdupois 
weights comprises ^ oz., |- oz., 1 oz., 2 oz., 4 oz., 8 oz., and 10 oz., 
or 1 pound, and sometimes a 2 pound weight, and a 4 pound 
weight ; and by this scale of binal progression or division, almost 
everything is purchased at retail. f Our yardsticks are found to be 

* " The classification by pairs which nature points out would suggest the simplest 
mode of reckoning. Counting these pairs again by two, and repeating the procedure, 
•we arrive by progressive steps at the radical tei'ms, 4, 8, 16, &c." {Edinbur<jli Review^ 
for May, 1811, vol. 18, page 185.) 

The celebrated Leibnitz, so eminent as a mathematician as well as a philosopher, 
struck with the simplicity and peculiar capabilities of this scale, proposed and strongly 
urged the introduction of Binary Arithmetic. He showed tliat the Binary system, in 
addition to its extreme facility, possessed peculiar value in discovering the properties 
of numbers, and in constructing tables, &c. He did not, however, recommend it for 
general use, from the increased number of figures required to express ordinary 

f Mr. Adams in his Report, speaking of the old and new measures of capacity in 
France, remarks: — " The most easy and natural divisions of liquids are in continual 
halvings; and the Paris pint was thus divided into halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, 
and thirty-second parts, by the name of chopines, half-setiers, possons, half-possons, 
and roquilles. The half setier, just equivalent to our half-pint, was the measure in most 
common use for supplying the daily necessities of the poor; and thus the decimal divi- 
sions of the law became snares to the honesty of the seller, and cheats upon the wants 
of the buyer." {Jieport on Weights and Measures.) 


divided not into the legal feet and inches, but into halves, quarters, 
eighths and sixteenths. Precisely so "with the inch, which is never 
divided into its primitive " three barley corns," but almost always, 
like the yard, by the binal scale, into eighths and sixteenths, 
though occasionally divided for particular purposes into twelfths, or 
into tenths. The operation of this great law is quite as strikingly 
exhibited in France, where the popular necessities have compelled 
the introduction of binal divisions, not recognized by the established 
decimal scales, nor, indeed, strictly compatible therewith.* 

Mr. Peacock, in his admirable treatise on " Arithmetic," in the 
Enci/clopedia Aletmpolitana, thus sums up his review of the 
French system. " The decimal subdivision of these measures 
possessed many advantages on the score of uniformity, and was 
calculated to simplify, in a very extraordinary degree, the arith- 
metic of concrete quantities. It was attended, however, by the 
sacrifice of all the practical advantages which attend subdivisions 
by a scale admitting of more than one bisection, which was the 

* " The supreme law of the land was made to bend before the will of the people, 
and after a vacillating legislation, an imperial decree was issued in 1812, which while 
it retained the units of the new weights and measures, allowed them to be divided by 
other than decimal numbers. Thus gradually were the old names reintroduced and 
applied to measures and weights to which they never before belonged. For retail sales 
of all articles which are sold by weight, the shopmen were allowed to employ the fol- 
lowing usual weights. The pound (livre) equal to half a kilogramine, or 500 grammes, 
which shall be divided into 16 ounces. The ounce (once) or one-sixteenth part of 
the pound, which shall be divided into eight gros. The gros, or one-eighth part of 
the ounce shall be divided into halves, quarters and eighths. They shall bear with 
their appropriate names the indication of their weight in grammes." {Journal of 
Pharmacy for October, 1830, vol. 2. Page 201. Article on " Weights and Measures," 
by Dr. B. Ellis.) 

This decree of 1812, was, however, in 1840 revoked; and the " Systeme Usuel " has 
since then been interdicted by law, under penalties; the decimal metrology being alone 
permitted, and strictly enforced. The practical working of the system, however, 
during the last twenty years, has but furnished another illustration to the oft- cited 
apophthegm of Horace : 

"Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurrit." 

Binary divisions, as we are informed, are still common in trade, either in the open guise 
effractions, or in the form of higher multiples of lower units. On turning over a file 
of the MonUeur Universel (a daily paper of Paris,) for the year 1852, we find the prices 
in the money market constantly interpolated with quarters and eighths. Thus in the 
number for Dec. 30th, 1852, we have in the list of prices on the last page, quotations of 
98| francs; 98| francs; 43| francs; &c. 


case with those previously in use ; and it may ivell he doubted 
whether the loss in this respect tvas not more than a comjjcnsation 
for every other gainJ^ Such a statement from one who has given 
the whole subject so careful a study, certainly deserves our most 
serious consideration. 

The masterly and comprehensive report on the subject of 
weights and measures, made to Congress in 1821, by Mr. Adams, 
when Secretary of State, contains the following judgment: " The 
experience of France has proved that binary, ternary, duodecimal, 
and sexagesimal divisions are as necessary to the practical use of 
weights and measures, as the decimal divisions are convenient for 
calculations resulting from them ; and that no plan for introducing 
the latter, can dispense with the continued use of the former. . . 
. From the verdict of experience, therefore, it is doubtful 
whether the advantage to be obtained by any attempt to apply 
decimal arithmetic to weights and measures, would ever compen- 
sate for the increase of diversity which is the unavoidable conse- 
quence of change. Nature has no partialities for the number ten ; 
and the attempt to shackle her freedom with them will for ever 
prove abortive." 

So in the interesting paper of Dr. Ellis, (in the American Jour- 
nal of Pharmacy, vol. 2, page 202,) the French decimal system 
is thus referred to : " Every one is struck, at the first glance of this 
system, with the beautiful simplicity which it derives from decimal 
arithmetic. It appears, however, to have been overlooked, that, 
although decimal arithmetic is admirably designed to facilitate the 
calculation of mere number, it is not equally well suited to the 
divisions of material things." 

Much to the same effect has been the result of the commission 
appointed lately in England to consider the subject of a decimal 
coinage. The commissioners, after a full discussion and investiga- 
tion of the subject, have very recently reported against any 
chan^ife; their report being drawn up in the form of a series of 
twelve resolutions. The seventh resolution is as follows : " That 
as regards the comparative convenience of our present coinage, 
and of the pound and mill scheme, for the reckonings of the shop 


and the market, and for mental calculations generally, the superi- 
oiitj rests with the present system, in consequence, principally, 
of the more convenient divisibility of 4, 12 and 20, as compared 
with 10, and the facility for a successive division by 2, that is, 
for repeated halving, in correspondence with the natural and 
necessary tendency to tliis mode of subdividing all material things ; 
and with the prevalence of binary steps in the division of our 
weights and measures." 

In the view, then, of this pervading law or principle of all 
human metrology, so well established, and so distinctly recog- 
nized, it becomes an obvious necessity, in adopting a decimal scale, 
to engraft upon it, the divisions of halves and quarters, at least, 
(and in the case of the more commonly employed units, — of eighths,) 
if we would adapt it to the demands of the people, or if we would 
hope for its permanent establishment. It is true that this would 
involve a considerable number of subordinate divisions between 
one denomination of measure and the next below it, as it would be 
requisite to have separate and distinctive weights, for instance, for 
the unit, (whatever it might be,) for one and a quarter of the unit; 
for two, for two and a half, and for five ; and it is also true, 
that the fractional values thus introduced would not be directly 
referable to the ordinary computations of decimal arithmetic, — 
thus adding, somewhat, to the complexity and trouble of otherwise 
very simple calculations ; but this is a fault, not of the binary 
divisions themselves, but resulting from a radical and incurable 
defect in the decimal system. So long as we continue to count, to 
add, subtract, multiply, and divide by tens, so long must we sub- 
mit to this inconvenience, (undoubtedly a serious one,) or we must 
choose the greater evil of abandoning all attempts at uniformity 
and consistency of system, and continue, as heretofore, to measure 
and to weigh by heterogeneous tables, while we perform the neces- 
sary operations of comparing, compounding, and distributing these 
values, by a method or ratio entirely dissimilar ; entailing upon 
ourselves the waste of time, labor and patience, consequent upon 
a petty scheme of eternal and superfluous reductions.* 

* " Perhaps it may be found by more protracted and multiplied experience, that this 
is the only 'uniformity' attainable by a system of weights and measures for universal 


This horn of the dilemma is that which has been accepted by the 
coinafTe commission of England, to which a reference has just been 
made. The eleventh resolution of the Commissioners' Report, is : 
" That the advantages in calculation and account-keeping, antici- 
pated from a decimal coinage, may, to a great extent, be obtained 
without any disturbance of our present coinage, by a more exten- 
sive adoption of the practice now in use at the National Debt 
Office, and in the principal assurance offiijes ; viz., of reducing 
money to decimals, performing the required calculations in deci- 
mals, and then restoring the result to the present notation." With 
our experience of a decimal coinage, (notwithstanding its imper- 
fections,) this is not the horn likely to be selected by Americans in 
attempting a reform in weights and measures. 

An expedient has been suggested by some, for facilitating divi- 
sion in decimal notation, which is ingenious, and deserves a notice. 
The project is to adopt a uniformly decimal system of weights and 
measures, but to estimate entirely by "cents," — by simply sup- 
pressing every alternate denomination ; thus, while reckoning deci- 
mally, we should traffic only centesimaily. Our practical applica- 
tion of this method in all our money transactions, in which dimes 
are entirely suppressed in the market, (though still having their 
place in the columns of the ledger,) and our estimates made in 
dollars and cents, familiarizes our minds to the process, and enables 
us to see how such a system might be indefinitely extended, by the 
simple device of counting by double places of figures. The 
French table of weights would stand thus : 

100 deci-milligrammes make 1 centigramme. 

100 centigrammes " 1 gramme. 

100 grammes " 1 hectogramme. 

100 hectogrammea " 1 myriagramme. 

This suppression of the alternate denominations would have the 
advantage of abolishing the very objectionable terms decigramme 

use: that the same material instruments shall be divisible decimally for calculations 
and accounts; but in any other manner suited to convenience in the shops and mar- 
kets; that their appropriate legal denominations shall be used for computation, and the 
trivial names for actual weight or mensuration." {Adams's Rqwrt.) 


and decagramme. Instead of the extreme awkwardness of taldng 
one quarter of a gramme (2^- decigrammes,) we are furnished with 
the value in whole units, by taking twenty-five centigrammes. 

Simple and taking as this proposal is, it is, in our opinion, not 
free from serious objections. It, in fact, complicates rather than 
simplifies, by giving a very wide range for estimating values. 
While it thus multiplies the units, and enlarges the interval between 
them tenfold, — it only furnishes us with a single additional bisec- 
tion, namely, the quartering. An eighth would still require a 
fractional expression. Its benefit, therefore, bears no proportion 
to the increased trouble and confusion involved. The necessity 
universally felt for quarternal and octaval divisions, would infallibly 
operate here as it has in our currency ; and we should constantly 
hear of 37^ hundredths of a pound ; 62^ hundredths of a pint ; 
&c., which would be, in no respect, better than 3J, or 6^ tenths. 
The truth is, we need more frequent denominations than decimal 
ones, rather than more distant stepping-stones ; and for some pur- 
poses, even the binary ratio of progression is not too slow. In 
looking over the various tables of weight and measure prevailing 
throughout Europe, it will be found that a large majority of the 
factors are 2, 4, and 8, with occasional resort to 3 and G, — the 
number 4 being, perhaps, the favorite number for the more cus- 
tomary denominations.* 

In the course of this investigation, the Committee has been 
constantly impressed with the inseparable nature of the various 
branches of a metrical system ; and with a consequent conviction 
of the impossibility of giving that exclusive and confined attention 
to the weights and measures of our own particular profession, 
which was probably intended in the appointment of the commis- 
sion. We have felt, more and more, the necessity of a conformity 
among all the measures of trade and commerce, and of the 
reference of all to common laws, and to a single standard. AVe find 
that many of the evils that are experienced by us, are those pre- 

*This is rendered very apparent on turning over the pages of "Woolhouse's little 
work on the " Weights and Measures of all Nations." No. 101, of Weale's Rudiment- 
ary Series. Time does not permit the reference to examples. 


vailing in all departments ;'^that no improvements or reforms can 
be either efficient or enduring, which do not look to the welfare of 
the whole; and that the agitation of the subject carries Avith it 
consequences of far wider scope, and of more momentous interest 
than most of us had probably conceived. The empiric may be 
satisfied to alleviate, temporarily, some prominent or more distress- 
ing symptom ; it is the province of the scientific practitioner to 
search into the origin of the malad}^, and to so administer to the 
real sources of the grievance, as may effect a thorough cure. We 
doubt, therefore, whether we are at present in a condition to do 
more than indicate what we regard as the most desirable objects 
and directions of reform; contributing our share of labor and 
consideration toward perfecting the great and wide-spread project 
of improvement, and leaving to those who can most efficiently act 
in the matter, to further or to better our suggestions. 

Entertaining this feeling upon the subject, we are not prepared 
to fully approve the recent action of the British Colleges engaged 
upon the revision of the Pharmacopoeia, in changing merely the 
scale by which medicinal preparations are to be dispensed. Dis- 
carding the Troy weights, and dividing the avoirdupois pound into 
7680 parts, to be called grains, they have presented us with the 
following table : 

British Pharmaceutical Table of Weights. 

1 grain, or 1 gr. = 0.911458 Troygr. 

20 grains make 1 scruple, " 20 grs.= 911 scruple. 

3 scruples " 1 drachm, " 60 " = 2 scr. 14.6875 grs. 

8 drachms " 1 ounce, " 480 " = 7 drs. scr. 17^ " 

• 16 ounces " 1 pound " 7680 " = 1 lb. 2 oz. 4 dr. 2 scr. 

While we recognize this scheme of division as a decided improve- 
ment upon the present anomalous Troy scale, we do not think it 
worth the sacrifice involved, nor do we see in it the qualities likely 
to give it a permanency of continuance, or a generality of accept- 
ance. The Troy grain is a standard so widely used, and in 
medicine especially, is one of so great value, as the exponent of so 
much knowledge and experience, that it should not be lightly set 


aside ; and before we incur the greatly increased labor, inconven- 
ience, and confusion, necessarily attendant upon the transition, we 
should well consider whether we have attained all the benefit within 
our reach, or whether, at no greater cost, we might not reap the 
advantages of a far more perfect system. 

Amid the conflicting claims of the numerous plans proposed for 
simplifving and uniting our incongruous metrology (of which only 
a few of the leading ones have been adverted to,) there appears, 
at first sight, so much of irreconcilable contrariety, that it might 
be concluded that a combination of the respective advantages con- 
templated was hopeless and impossible ; and that we were only 
left to a choice of evils. A more careful scrutiny will, however, as 
we believe, discover a philosophy in these very discrepancies, and 
furnish us with the elements of a practicable concord. On the one 
side, the convenience of a system of divisions or multiples conform- 
ing exactly to that by which we are compelled to perform all arith- 
metical operations, is so obvious, and so universally recognized,* 
that the advocates of an entire decimalization are certainly justi- 
fied in their zeal. On the other hand, the necessity of binal 
progression and division, though not so generally acknowledged, is 
by all who have given the subject a careful study, so fully appre- 
ciated, as being, at least, as fundamental as that of the decimal 
scale, that those who urge the retention of all such denominations as 
are measured by the powers of 2, are no less justified. Which 
policy must, then, be sacrificed ? 

" The elementary principle of decimal arithmetic," says Mr. 
Adams, " is supplied by nature to man within himself, in the num- 
ber of his fingers. Whatever standard of linear measure he may 
assume in order to measure the surface or the solid, it will be nat- 
ural to him to stop in the process of addition, when he has counted 
the tale equal to that of his fingers But while deci- 
mal arithmetic, thus for the purposes of computation, shoots spon- 

* " The great improvement of having but one arithmetical scale for reckoning inte- 
gers and fractions of every kind, .... is one so obvious, and, withal, so little difB- 
cult, that it is a matter of surprise that it should not have been attempted till near a 
thousand years after decimal arithmetic itself was first introduced into Europe." 
{Edinburcjh Review, for January, 1807, volume 9, page 373.) 


taneously from the nature of man and of things, it is not equally 
adapted to the numeration, the multiplication, or the division of 
material substances, either in his own person, or in external nature. 
The proportions of the human body, and of its members, are in 
other than decimal numbers. The first unit of measures for the 
use of the hand, is the cubit, or extent from the tip of the elbow 
to the end of the middle finger ; the motives for choosing which 
are, that it presents more definite terminations at both ends, than 
any of the other superior limbs, and gives a measure easily handled 
and carried about the person. By doubling this measure, is given 
the ell, or arm, including the hand and half the width of the body, 
to the middle of the breast ; and by doubling that, the fathom, or 
extent from the extremity of one middle finger to that of the other, 
with expanded arms, — an exact equivalent to the stature of man, 
or extension from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. 
For subdivisions, and smaller measures, the span is found equal to 
half the cubit, the palm to one-third of the span, and the finger to 
one-fourth of the palm. The culit is thus for the mensuration of 
matter, naturally divided into 21 equal parts, with subdivisions of 
which 2, 3, and 4, are the factors ; while for the mensuration of 
distance, the foot will be found equal to one-fifth of the pace, and 
on'e-sixth of the fathom." [Report to the Senate and House of 
Representatives, Feb. 22, 1821, on Weights and Measures.') 

"The fingers," says Dr. Lardner, "were naturally the first 
objects which presented to the mind the idea of number ; and they 
furnished, also, a set of natural counters by which the number of 
things might be marked and expressed. The fingers, being contin- 
ually in view, familiarized the mind with the contemplation of every 
number of objects not exceeding ten. It was natural, therefore, 
that ten should be adopted as the number of objects to form the 

first group Althougli ten has been so generally 

adopted as the radix of systems of numeration, as to leave no 
doubt of its origin, yet it is not the only one which has been used, 
nor is it the only radix having a natural origin. The fingers of 
one hand rendered the number five familiar to the mind, before 
the conception of ten as a distinct number presented itself. It 


was even more natural and obvious, that the fingers should be con- 
templated as two groups of five, than as a single group of ten." 
{Treatise on Arithmetic, book i, chap. 1, p. 5-6.) 

The gradual and successive development of these scales, is so 
■well set forth in Mr. Peacock's valuable treatise, that we think no 
apology is necessary for a somewhat lengthened extract from it, 
even at the cost of some repetition. 

" The decimal scale of numeration is not the only one which- 
may be properly characterized as a natural scale. In numbering 
with the fingers we might, very naturally, pause at the completion 
of the fingers on one hand ; and registering this result by a coun- 
ter, or by any other means, we might proceed over the fingers of 
the same hand again, or with the fingers of the second hand, and 
register the result by another counter, or replace the former bj a 
new counter which should become the representative of ten. 

. Again, the scale of numeration by twenties has its founda- 
tion in nature, equally with the quinary and denary scales. In a 
rude state of society, before the discovery of other methods of 
numeration, men might avail themselves, for this purpose, not 
merely of the fingers on the hands, but likewise of the toes of 
the naked feet ; such a practice would naturally lead to the form- 
ation of a vicenary scale of numeration, to which the denary, or 
the denary with the quinary, or the quinary alone, might be 

subordinate Of other systems of numeration, the 

binary might be considered as natural, from the use of the two 
hands in separating objects into pairs, and from the prevalence 
of binary combinations in the members of the human body; but 
the scale of its superior units increases too slowly to embrace 
within moderate limits the numbers which are required for the 

ordinary wants of life, even in the infancy of society 

As the necessity of numeration is one of the earliest and most 
urgent of those wants which are not essential to the support and 
protection of life, we might naturally expect that the discovery of 
expedients for that purpose should precede the epoch of civiliza- 
tion, and the fall development and fixing of language. That such 
has been the case, we shall find very fully and clearly established, 


by an examination of the numerical words of different languages ; 
for, without any exception which can be well authenticated, they 
have been formed upon regular principles, having reference to some 
one of those three systems which we have characterized as natural : 
the quinary scale, whenever any traces of it appear, being gener- 
ally subordinate to the denary, and in some cases, both the quinary 
and denary scales being subordinate to the vicenary. In some 
cases, also, we shall find, from an examination of primitive numerical 
words conveying traces of obsolete methods of numeration, that 
the quinary, and even the vicenary scales have been superseded 
altogether by the denary." (^Encyclopedia Metropolitana^ art. 
"Arithmetic," vol. I, p. 371.) 

Decimal arithmetic thus appears to be coeval and coextensive 
with the human race. It is, indeed, perhaps, the most universal of 
human institutions, — at least as universal as language itself.* 
From this universality, most writers have called it the " natural " 
system ; but on examining the question whether the number ten 
possesses any intrinsic excellence or convenience to recommend it, 
— any peculiar fitness as a ratio of geometrical progression, we 
find but one answer, — it has none. It differs from any other 
number only in quantity, not in quality. So far from its presenting 
any merit or advantage over its compeers, it is almost the last 
number which a true science of arithmetic would have selected for 
the important function of a radix of numeration. Its universality 
flows simply from the fact that the necessities of man impelled a 
selection, in the very earliest infancy of the race, long before the in- 
vention of letters, and while yet a language was but slowly being 
formed ; and the selection comes to us stamped with the crude im- 
press of a most irrelevant accident! Had the six-fingered giant 
slain by Jonathan, (2 Sam. xxi. 20,) lived early enough to be the 
father of the first unreasoning tribes, we should have had a duo- 

* " We are not aware that there is an instance extant in any language, ancient or 
modern, of a complete numeral system formed upon a single radix other than the 
decimal. We have abundant examples, as already stated, of the occasional appearance 
of the quinary and vigesimal radices in scales which are chiefly decimal; and exam- 
ples may be produced from numerals of the Celtic dialects of a strange mixture of the 
quinary^ denary, and vicenary systems." — {Lardner's Anthmetic, chap. 1, p. 17.) 


decimal arithmetic ; or if, like the fowls of the air, we had usually 
but four toes to our extremities, we should now have been able to 
calculate only octavallj; and in either event we should have been 
much more skilful computers than we are at present.* 

Decimal numeration is " natural " then, only in the sense that 
ignorance is natural. The fingers have no more real or " natural " 
relation to the properties of number, than have any other organs 
or divisions of the human body ; and mathematically or philosophi- 
cally considered, the digit is, therefore, no more a typical unit than 
a tooth, (of which there are thirty-two,) or the leg of a spider, (of 
which there are eight,) or the petal of a flower, (of Avhich there 
maybe any number.) Nor have any but the most ignorant races — 
those without a literature and an alphabet, — ever occasion to group 
and tally by their fingers. Only from unlettered savages could 
such a scale, therefore, have been derived. 

It has been a favorite theory with a certain class of thinkers, that 
primitive man was a highly civilized being, — "a scholar and a 
gentleman ; " and that the decay of states, and the decline of civil- 
izations so unfortunately frequent in his history, but manifest his 
prevailing tendency to degeneration. Our universal arithmetic fur- 
nishes us with one of the most striking refutations of such a fancy. 
Wherever over the broad earth, the decimal scale exists, there 
have we the enduring monument of the ancestral savage — count- 
ing by his fingers or his naked toes.f Had any intelligent fore- 

* " There can be no doubt that if man had been a twelve-fingered animal, we should 
now possess a more perfect system of numeration than we do. Whatever be the radix 
of the scale, it would always be a convenience to be able to subdivide it with facility, 
without resorting to the more refined expedient of fractional language." — (Lardner^s 
Arithmetic, chap. 1, p. 21.) 

t The German word for ten — zehen, — signifies "toes," being the plural of the 
word zelie. We do not generally or readily recognize this intellectual association in 
our own language; and yet the Saxon word — ta — a " toe," is in the plural tan. The 
daJitul {coKTv/.os) of the Greeks, and the digit (digitus) of the Romans, which signified 
either " finger " or " toe," appear evidently affiliated to the deha (iiKa) of the one and 
the decern of the other; although the genealogy (as in English) was probably more an- 
cient than the languages themselves. So uniform are the laws of mind and matter, 
that we have only to select some rude and isolated tribe of modern savages, to discover 
with a naturalist's confidence, the exact process of development in numeration, with 
the aborigines of our race, millenniums on millenniums ago. Klaproth, in speaking 
of the inhabitants of the peninsula of Kamtschatka, says: " It is very amusing to see 
them attempt to reckon above ten; for having reckoned the fingers of both hands, they 
clasp them together, which sigi ifies ten; they then begin at their toes and count to 
twenty; after which they are quite confounded, and cry "matcha," that is, where 
shall I take more ? " — {Sprachailas, page 16.) 


thought ever presided over the inception of a numerical scale, — 
had any comprehensive conception of the uses and purposes of 
figures, in any single instance guided the selection of a ratio for 
their multiplication, — that ratio must inevitably have been some- 
thing else than ten ; the duplication of an odd number, — incapa- 
ble of any other division, — neither a square, a cube, nor other 
power of any integer, — and in its successions among the most in- 
efficient for the expression of fractional values, or for the extraction 
of roots. And if among the patriarchs of the human family, a 
rational scale had ever been so devised, some traces of this "wiser 
system must have been found, to give a " sign" and memento of 
man's pristine elevation. 

" The number ten," remarks Mr. Anderson, in his treatise on 
Arithmetic, " has been adopted by every civiUzed nation for the 
radix of the numerical scale. It has no peculiar advantages to 
recommend it, and seems to have been selected for that important 
function, merely because it expresses the number of the human 
fingers. We must regret that a circumstance so totally uncon- 
nected "with every scientific consideration, should have determined 
an elemental principle, of the last importance to one of the most 
abstract, as well as one of the most useful of all the sciences ; and 
that the decimal notation should still be retained, notwithstanding 
its evident imperfections, and the superior claims of other scales." 
(^Edinburgh Unci/cloj>eclia ; edited by Sir David Brewster, art. 
"Arithmetic," vol. 2, page 411.) 

An able and philosophical writer in the Edinburgh Review 
holds very similar language. " Ten has indeed," he observes, 
" no advantage as the radix of numerical computation ; and has 
been raised to the dignity which it now holds, merely by the cir- 
cumstance of its expressing the number of a man's fingers. They 
who regard science as the creature of pure reason, must feel some- 
what indignant that a consideration so foreign and mechanical, 
should have determined the form and order of one of the most in- 
tellectual and abstract of all the sciences." {Edinburgh Review, 
for January, 1807, vol. 9, page 376.) 

A large number (perhaps even a large majority) of the well- 


educated, have been accustomed to regard the decimal system as 
possessuig a peculiar beauty and expressiveness, from the great 
facility with which the ordinary operations of arithmetic are per- 
formed by it. Indeed, after laboring at the tedious and trouble- 
some reductions of compound numbers (consequent upon other 
scales of progression) unfortunately so often required to be made, 
the relief of a simple addition or multiplication in the homogeneous 
units of our common scale, is too striking not to excite a feeling of 
admiration for the easier process. It appears not to be generally 
considered, however, that this facility of computation is in no re- 
spect due to the series of " tens " by which we count, but is derived 
exclusively from the admirable notation in which the series has 
been clothed, and through which alone, we are in modern times 
made acquainted with it ; and from the perfect conformity of the 
notation to the series. Any other scale will be found to exhibit an 
equal facility, if the same notation be employed, and made to cor- 
respond strictly with the selected scale. If, like the old Arabian 
philosophers, or like the ancient Greeks and Romans, we were 
compelled to calculate by a set of alphabetic numerals, we should 
be able to better realize how much we are indebted to that simple 
and yet grand invention of India, the " cypher-figures," or the set 
of figures with the device of local value.* This system of numeri- 
cal language presents us with a formula of geometrical progres- 
sions, so illimitable in range, and yet so perfect in its conciseness 
and distinctness, that it transcends all conception that the inge- 
nuity of man in all coming time shall ever be able to improve it.f 
Though from a remote antiquity familiar to the Hindoos, (that 
wonderful people from whom the civilized world has derived so 
much,) it was wholly unknown to the nations of the earth until 

* See note A — appended to this Report. 

t " This method which is now used by every civilized nation, has all the precision 
we can desire, with the important advantages of conciseness and simplicity. It is im- 
possible indeed for human ingenuity to contrive anj-thing better adapted to the pur- 
poses of calculation. A more convenient scale than the decimal, might be substituted; 
but the principles of the notation itself, are incapable of improvement." {Edinburgh 
Encyclopedia, article "Arithmetic") 


comparatively modem times; having been first introduced, into 
Arabia, less than a thousand years ago, and from thence by slow 
and successive centuries into the various languages of Europe. 

However much the Arabic philosopher to whom belongs the 
honor of having first transplanted the Sanscrit Arithmetic into his 
own country, may have been impressed with its great power and 
beauty, he could hardly have appreciated to its full extent, the im- 
portance and magnitude of the gift he was instrumental in present- 
ing to the civilized world ; a transfer which Sir John Bowring in 
his " Decimal System," (chap. 2, p. 22,) has characterized as 
" the greatest step ever made towards the introduction of a univer- 
sal language among the nations of the world." The Hindoo nume- 
rals, from the channel of their introduction into Europe, were 
generally called the " Arabic figures " — a title they still commonly 
retain, though it is one hardly just to the people with whom these 
figures had their origin. 

Now although this Hindoo notation has never been popularly 
applied to any other than the decimal scale, it is obviously a for- 
mula of universal applicability ; and if made use of to express a 
system of figures with any other radix than ten, would give the 
same facility to all the calculations performed by that system. 
Abstracting, for a moment, all specific va'ue from the terms 
'•units," " tens," "hundreds," and "thousands," and regarding 
them merely as symbols of local value (designating only the orders 
of units,) we may exhibit in a tabular form, a series of scales, with 
the successive increments of value for each place, according to the 
radix, or ratio of geometrical progression selected. The letter 
" u " in the top line, denotes a " unit ; " that is, any figure which 
may occupy a single place. 



Table of Arithmetical Scales. 




Ternary .... 
Quaternary . . . 



Septenary. . . . 
Octonary . . . . 



Duodenary . . . 
Quatcrdenary. . 
Senidenary. . . 
Octonidenary. . 
Vicenary. . . , 
Tricenary . . . 
Quadragenary • 
Quinquagenary . 
Sexagenary. . . 


— 3 

— 4 

— 5 

— G 

— 7 

— 8 

— 9 

— 11 

— 13 

— 15 

— 17 

— 19 

— 29 

— 39 

— 49 



50 • 

— 59; 60 — 

Hund's. Thous'ds. Radix. 

4 — 

9 — 

16 — 

25 — 

36 — 

49 — 

64 — 

81 — 

100 — 

144 — 

196 — 

256 — 

324 — 

400 — 

900 — 

1600 — 

2500 — 

64 — 
125 — 
216 — j 
343 — 
512 — 

729 — ! 

1000 — 

1728 — j 

2744 — 

4096 — 

5832 — 

8000 — 

27000 — 

64000 — 

125000 — 

3600 — 216000 — 


















Logarithm. Places. 






















Tiie number of places for each scale, is inversely as the logarithm of the Radix. 

The most striking feature displayed by such a comparison of the 
different scales is the rapid increase of value in the higher ratios, 
as compared with the lower. "While the ternary/ scale, for example, 
requires four figures to express so small a number as 27, the t)-ice- 
nary scale expresses one thousand times as many, by the use of no 
more places. The very first inquiry would, therefore, naturally be 
(in the absence of any other consideration) which would be found 
more convenient, — a very small radix, or a very large one ? 

The first and lowest scale of the series — the hinary, presents 
with some disadvantages, many very remarkable advantages. * In 
the first place it requires but a single figure, 1, (together with 


the cipher for determining its place) to express with facility and 
precision all the values within the reach of figures.* According 
to the law of the Hindoo notation, bj which every zero multi- 
plies all the value that precedes it, by the amount of the radix, ifc 
results that the addition of a cipher to the figure 1, would of course 
multiply it by two, (instead of by ten as in our common system) — 
the addition of 2 ciphers, — by two times two, or four, (instead of 
by a hundred) — the addition of 3 ciphers, by eight ; of 4 ciphers, 
by sixteen ; of 5 ciphers, by thirty-two ; &c. The first fifteen 
numbers would read thus: 1, 10, 11, 100, 101, 110, 111, 1000, 
1001, 1010, 1011, 1100, 1101, 1110, llll.t The present year, 
1850, would require eleven places of figures to express it ; namely, 
11101000011. Fifty places of figures (or 1 and 49 ciphers.) in 
the binary system, would require but fifteen places of figures in 
the decimal system. One hundred places of the binary, (1 and 99 
ciphers) would require thirty places of the decimal. So that the 
former system would involve, on an average, the constant employ- 
ment of about three and a third times more figures in all our arith- 
metical operations, than the latter system, or that in common use. 
This increased expenditure of time and manual labor, would evi- 
dently be a very serious inconvenience. On the other hand it 
must be considered that the writing down of any given mass of 
figures, in only two characters (always either a 1, or a cipher,) 
would be much more easy and expeditious than if the mass con- 
sisted of ten different characters; so that the actual increase of 
trouble should be set down at probably not more than double that 
we have at present. This much quantitatively. But in the quality 
of the work done, the difference will be found immensely in favor 
of the binary scheme. In the first place no tables would be re- 
quired to be committed to, and retained by, the memory ; either 
of addition, of subtraction, of division or of multiplication ; not even 

* It was in reference to this curious property of the scale, that a medal struck in 
honor of Leibnitz, and to commemorate his invention of the binary system, bore on its 
reverse, the striking inscription: " Omnibus ex nihilo ducendis sufficit Unum." Unity- 
being very commonly regarded as the symbol of the Deity. — {Peacock's Arithmetic, 
Encyclopedia Metropolitann, vol. 2, page 392.) 

t See note B — appended to this Ueport. 


the fundamental " twice two make four! " Every forna of calcu- 
lation would be resolved into simple numeration and notation. In 
fact, calculation as an effort of mathematical thought, might be 
said to be entirelj'- dispensed with, and the labor of the brain to be 
all transferred to the eye and the hand. A perfect familiarity mth. 
the notation of the scale, and with the simple rules of position, 
would enable the operator to determine in every case by mere in- 
spection whether the next figure should be a 1, or a 0. It follows, 
that the only errors possible in such a work, would be the merely 
clerical ones of the eye or hand ; and when we reflect that a large 
majority of the arithmetical errors committed, are usually those of 
the brain, fatigued or bewildered by the constant strain upon the 
attention and memory, this consideration of the increased accuracy 
of such a system, is one of the very first importance in estimating 
its value. To many, the relief it proffers in exchanging head-work 
for hand-work will appear no trifling recommendation ; and it may 
Avell be doubted, ^yhether in all important and lengthy calculations, 
the binary system would not be found to afford a real economy of 
labor, instead of an increase as has been generally supposed. 

It has been previously noticed, that the great Leibnitz, the 
rival of ISTewfon in the invention of the " Differential Calculus," 
proposed this system, and zealously urged its adoption ; although 
he thought that for more common purposes it would be found too 
prolix. '• De Lagny took the trouble of constructing logarithms on 
the principles of this arithmetic, as being more natural than those 

usually employed He even proposed to substitute the 

binary arithmetic for logarithms, afl^rming that it was more simple 
and expeditious, and conducted to the object in view in a less indi- 
rect manner." (Ayiderson' s Article on Arithmetic^ in Breivster^s 
Edinhur(jh Encyclo'pedia, vol. 2, pp. 376 and 409.) The same 
writer adds that " Dangicourt has applied the binary notation with 
greater success to progressions, and proved that the laws of a 
series maj^ be detected by it more easily than by any other scale." 
(Page 401>.) This results, it may be as well to state, from the fact 


that " circulating periods " of figures return far more frequently 
in this scale than in any other.* 

The Ternary scale, although it is also a very simple scale, has 
nothing else to recommend it ; being incapable of integral bisec- 
tion, and having very nearly the redundancy of the binary scale, 
without one of its advantages. It may be regarded as the most 
objectionable of all the scales ; and indeed none of the odd num- 
bei'S, could, for a moment, be accepted as a suitable radix of nota- 

The Quaternary scale, as derived from the second power of the 
binary scale, has many of its excellences. While it employs less 
than half the number of digits, of the common or denary scale, to 
task the memory and attention, it requires only about five places of 
figures, for three of the latter. It combines, therefore, great sim- 
plicity of structure, with a moderate range of notation, and would 
form a very convenient and practicable system of numeration ; 
while it would furnish an admirable scale of division for weights 
and measures of all kinds. It is said by Balbi, that a very low and 
ignorant tribe of Indians in South America, — the Guranos — had 
names only for four digits, and that after counting these a second 
time (to eight) they were unable to proceed any further. The cor- 
rectness of this account, appears, however, to be exceedingly 
doubtful. It is remarkable, too, that Aristotle mentions a tribe of 

* From the comparatively slow rate of progression in this scale, its places of figures 
advancing in value by the successive powers of two only, instead of by the powers of 
ten, as in our present system, it might be supposed tliat its capability of expressing 
large amounts was very limited; and there are probably very few who would not be 
startled by the announcement, that the number of the stars of heaven, including all 
those made visible by the most powerful telescopes, — the mill<y way, — and all the 
mighty nebuite resolved, — added to the number of the grains of sand upon the sea- 
shore, would all be expressed by the binary notation in a single row of figures, not 
extending across a sheet of common letter paper ! And yet this can be very easily 
shown. Assuming that a cubic inch of sand would contain ten million grains, the 
number of grains of sand necessary to constitute a globe as large as our earth, would 
not exceed 659 quiutillions: an expression requiring but thirty-thi-ee figures. In the 
binary scale this would require only 109 figures. Our sun is a million times larger 
than our earth. Supposing that even this huge globe were composed of sand, we 
should have to add but 20 ciphers to these 109 figures to multiply them by a million, 
and to express the entire number, in the binary notation. 


Thrace as being unable to count beyond four, — a statement 
equally incredible. 

The Quinarij scale, whose notation would require ten places for 
seven of the Denary, has nothing to recommend it ; and yet from 
the accident of man being afflicted with five fingers, it has gener- 
ally formed the basis of the scale in common use, and traces of it 
are to be found in perhaps a majority of the nations of the earth. 
The numerals of Malay and Java were anciently, for the most 
part, quinary, in subordination to the vicenary grouping. A trace 
of this system is also seen among the ancient Greeks, in their word 
TtEUTtu'^Eadui ; (to count by fives ;) as it is among the Romans in 
their notation of numbers above 5, 15, &c. The Persian term for 
"five" is ^jenfZ^'a; and ijentelia signifies the expanded hand. 
Among the South Sea Islanders, the inhabitants of New Caledonia 
and the Hebrides, as well as the barbarous tribes of north-eastern 
Asia, the quinary scale appears still to prevail. The central tribes 
of North America show also traces of this digital period ; and they 
are frequent among the innumerable languages of Africa. Thus 
with the Jallofis, the word for " five " — jaorom — signifies the 
"hand." So with the Foulahs, the Jallonkas, the Fellups, &c. 
There are no examples, however, of the number five ever having 
been used as a true radix of notation ; that is, as a direct ratio of 
continued progression ; 5; — 5 x 5, (25;) — 5 x 5 x 5, (125;) 
&c. The quinary scale has seldom gone further than 20. 

The Senary scale would require about 17 places of figures for 
13 of the common scale ; and its notation would therefore have 
about a one-third greater extent. Though not one of the most de- 
sirable scales, it would be much superior to the denary system. 
The simplification arising from the reduction of its digits, would 
much more than counterbalance the extension consequent on the 
increase of its places. Like the denal scale, it admits of but one 
bisection ; but it possesses the great superiority of admitting at the 
same time of a trisection. No examples of this scale are to be 
met with ; although it is said to have been at one time decreed in 
China, by the caprice of an Emperor, who had conceived some 
astrologic fancy for the number six. 


The Octonary scale approaches very nearly to the common scale 
in its capability of expression, as it requires on an average but one 
ninth more places of figures to represent any given amount ; that 
is, ten places of this scale would be equivalent to nine places of 
the denary. Being derived from the third power of the binary 
scale, it possesses most of the advantages of that system ; though 
not its admirable simplicity. Like the quaternary, it admits of 
continued bisection down to unity ; and, of course, of indefinite 
bisection below 1, by the simple expedient of an inverted, or nega- 
tive notation, (as in decimal fractions.) As a perfect cube, it has 
peculiar advantages both as a radix of numeration, and as a ratio 
of progression or of division for weights and measures ; and in the 
latter respect particularly, there is, perhaps, no other number that 
would so well express the average range of a convenient metrical 

The Denary scale* may be said to present a tolerably conve- 
nient mean between the prolixity of a very small radix, and the 
intricacy of a very large one : besides which, it possesses the im- 
mense advantage of a universal establishment.. But beyond this, 
there is nothing to be said in its behalf. Intrinsicall}^, it is one of 
the most imperfect and troublesome scales which could be selected. 
Still, the inconveniences of the system should be very serious and 
very apparent, and the claims of any rival scheme verj' unquestion- 
able, to justify the advocacy of a change, which would root up all 
our established forms and habits of calculation, — which would de- 
stroy the accumulated products of centuries of industrious thought 
and toil, — which would entail upon us generations of new labor to 
attain even the same standard of tabular detail, and statistical in- 
formation, now possessed; and which, more than all, would wholly 
demolish, and perhaps hopelessly, that uniformity so essential to 

* The name "Decimal," by -whicli our present system of arithmetic is commonly 
designated, appears not to have a perfect propriety. The terms " Octaval," " Nonal," 
'' Decimal," " Duodecimal," &c., are derived from the Roman " orc/j/zn/s," and belong 
to the s?ries Primal, Secundal, Tertial, Quartal, &c. The idea really involved, is not 
that of relation to a tenth, but of relation to a grouping hy tens, and would require the 
term " denal " or " denary " — from the Roman " distributive " numerals, of which the 
terms "binary" "ternary," &c., commence the series. 


the language of scientific investigation, and so universally conceded 
to be one of the most important aiirs and results of every project 
of metrical, or numerical improvement. 

Upon this basis must the question of so radical a revolution rest. 
But if it is shown that uniforuiity in many other relations than 
those of simple number, and no less vital to the interests and wel- 
fare of the race than this boasted uniformity of figures, has con- 
stantly and irretrievably been sacrificed to this great idol, — if it is 
established by the voice of all experience that neither national nor 
international standards of length, of weight, of area, of vulume, or 
of value, of any single subject, in short, to which these figures 
can be usefully applied, have ever the slightest hope of obtaining a 
general authority under the dynasty of this " universal " power, — 
then must it be dethroned, for very uniformity's sake, and a new 
dispensation introduced, developed from such principles, and in- 
vested with such attributes, that it may rationally be expected to 
gain at length a universal ascendency, through the concurrent ap- 
proval and adherence of all intelligent nations. For the attainment 
of a real uniformity, there seems no other process or alternative ; 
and for such an attainment, no sacrifice of temporary convenience 
could be held to be too great. The faults of the denary system 
are too radical to be amended, — too obnoxious to be endured. 
Sheltered by the inertia and conservatism of inveterate habit, it 
has been tolerated already much too long. The unskilful contriv- 
ance of an early age, it is all uusuited to the wants or uses of an 
adult manhood of the race. 

The Duodenary scale has over the denary the alvantage of 
allowing two bisections, and, at the same time, like the senary 
scale, of admitting of a tiisection. Its variety of factors, 2, 3, 4, 
and 6, give it a much greater power of expressing fractional 
values than any other scale below it, or immediately above it ; and 
it has accordingly been always found a convenient and favorite 
number for metrical divisions. The acres, the feet, and the pounds 
of the Romans were all divided by 12 ; as are the foot, and the 
Troy pound, still with us. The signs of the Zodiac, the months 
of the year, and the hours of the day, have illustrated the number 


from the remotest antiquity. In the old French measures of 
length, the foot was not only divided into 12 inches, but the inch 
into 12 lines, and the line into 12 points. The "dozen," the 
" gross " (or 12^) and even the " great gross " (or 12') are 
widely used in trade at the present day, for the packages of a va- 
riet}'- of articles. From the many acknowledged advantages of the 
duodenary scale, it has found frequent and warm advocates for its 
adoption as a system of numeration.* In the necessity of two ad- 
ditional integers, it would offer however a considerable increase of 
complexity and mental labor ; while the economy of places in no- 
tation could scarcely be regarded as appreciable, — 25 of the duo- 
denary being required for 27 of the denary. As compared with 
the octonary, it would require 5 places, where the latter would 
require 6 ; so that while its digits are more by 50 per cent., the 
excess of the other in places is only 20 per cent. But there are 

* A writer in the Edinburgh Review, in expressing a very natural regret tliat the 
philosophers of France, when engaged in making so radical a change in the measures 
and standards of the nation, did not attempt a reform in the popular arithmetic as well, 
appears to regard the duodecimal radix as superior to all others. " The French 
Academicians" — he says — "though freed at the moment we now speak of, like the 
rest of their countrymen, from the dominion of the inertia which reigns so powerfully 
both in the natural and moral world, and gives tlie time that is past such influence over 
that which is to come; though delivered from the action of this force in a degree that 
was perhaps never before exemplified, may be accused, at least in one instance, of 
having innovated too little, and of having been too cautious about departing from 
an established practice, though reason was by no means on its side. What we 
allude to is the system of arithmetical computation, in which they resolved to adhere 
to the decimal scale, instead of adopting the duodecimal, which from the nature of 

number, is so evidently preferable The property of the number twelve 

which recommends it so strongly for the purpose we are now considering, is its divisi- 
bility into so many more aliquot parts than ten, or any other number that is not much 
greater than itself. Twelve is divisible by 2, by 3, by 4, and by 6; and this circum- 
stance fits it so well for the purposes of arithmetical computation, that it has been re- 
sorted to in all times, as the most convenient number into which any unit either of 
weight or of measure could be divided. The divisions of the As, the Libra, the Jugerum , 
the Foot, are all proofs of what is here asserted; and this advantage, which was per- 
ceived in rude and early times, would have been found of great value in the most im- 
proved state of mathematical science We regret tlierefore that the 

experiment of this new arithmetic was not attempted. Another opportunity of trying 
it, is not likely to occur soon. In the ordinary course of human affairs, such improve- 
ments are not thought of; and the moment may never again present itself, when the 
wisdom or delirium of a nation shall come up to the level of this species of reform." 
(Edinburgh Review, Jan. 1807. Vol. 9, page 37G.) 


far more important considerations than these, which unfortanately 
oppose themselves to the adoption of this system, as the best sub- 
stitute for the denary, notwithstanding its admitted features of 

The most fatal objection to the radix 12, is that it permits only 
a single bisection beyond that given by the radix 10. The quality 
of continued divisibility, we regard as paramount to all others ; not 
merely for the convenience of art and trade, universal as their 
requirements are, but even for many scientific purposes; and how- 
ever valuable the property of a varied subdivision, (as that furnished 
by the duodenary scale.) experience has fully demonstrated, what 
is clearly seen by theory, that no aliquot parts can ever be as 
widely useful as the binal fractions. Another objection to the 12 
scale, somewhat allied to this, is that the number is not 2, power of 
any integer, — a point, as we shall discover, of no slight Importance. 
In this respect, it may be remarked, the number nine (awkward 
and inconvenient as it undoubtedly would be as the basis of an 
arithmetic,) would have several advantages over the number 
ten, and even over the number twelve. A third objection to the 
scale under consideration, which though not so striking, is yet (as 
we think can be made apparent) no less real, is that the radix is 
too large. On the simple score of size, there must be §ome where 
in the indefinite range of scales, a point where we should expect to 
find the most convenient medium between the inexpediences of 
opposing difficulties ; and although this most ad\i3able limit of mag- 
nitude may not admit of very precise determination, the question 
is one of too great consequence in the comparisons we are making, 
not to deserve a special attention. 

The Seni-denarij scale presents many excellent points, the num- 
ber IG being both a square, and a fourth power, and admitting of 
indefinite di\ision by two. Its only disadvantage is the incommo- 
dious number of digits it would require ; while its notation would 
yet economize only a single place of figures in every six places 
required by the denary scale. , 

The Vicenary scale furnishes no single point of merit which could 
reconamend it to our acceptance, unless its divisibility by four should 


be regarded as giving it a superiority to the denary. With an ex- 
ceedingly troublesome and unwieldly range of digits, it ■^\'onld reduce 
the extent of our common notation only from 13 to 10 places. Man 
Avas however unfortunately born with 20 extremities, or branches to 
his limbs, and hence traces of what may be designated a rudhiientary 
vicenary scale, are to be met with among many nations, both ancient 
and modern. In ancient Phoenicia and Palmyra, the system of 
numbering by twenties as far as the hundred, prevailed ; and from 
these nations it was derived by the Celtic languages, in all of which, 
its remains are still found. Amang the Scandinavians, also, is 
found a vicenary numeration. The Greenlanders having counted 
fingers and toes in periods of five, designated the number 20 by the 
word innuk, which signifies a " man." If they have occasion to pro- 
ceed higher, the expression for -40 is iriniik ay^lah^ — " two men," — 
&c. A similar method existed among the Aztecs of ancient Mexico ; 
as well as among the tribes of South America. The Teutonic races 
retain in their languages the traces of the ancient " score," and in 
parts of England, counting by scores, or twenties, is still quite usual. 
The translators of our Bible have fi'equently (though by no means 
uniformly) introduced this mode of enumeration. Thus we have 
" threescore and ten," (Ps. xc, 10,) — " threescore and twelve," 
(Numb, xxxi., 38,) — " threescore and fifteen," (Acts vii., 14,) — 
" threescore and seventeen," (Judges \vS.., 14.) &c., &c. The 
mode of numbering — still in common use in France, also exhibits a 
very remarkable retention of the antiquated vicenary system.* 

This scale is not, as might be supposed, an extension of, and 
attempted improvement upon the decimal system. On the con- 
trary, it almost universally preceded it ; and its emjiloj^ment 
belongs to the very earliest and rudest stage of barbarian society. 
It betrays a period of human intelligence, so destitute of all re- 

* " The French nomenclature is for the most part purely decimal. The decimal 
sj'stem is observed from twenty {vingt) to sixty (soixante) ; here we find a vestige of 
an old vicenary scale. Seventy, instead of being septante, as the decimal system would 
require, is 50(a;a«^e-(Zta;, (sixty-ten) ; seventj'-one, soixante-onze, (sixty-eleven); seventy- 
two, soixante-douze, (sixty-twelve,) &.c. Eighty, instead of being octante, is quatre 
vinrjt, or four twenties, and ninety is quatre-vinf/t-dix, {(our twenties ten); ninety-one, 
qu'irle vlnr/t-onze, (four twenties eleven), &c. Thus twenty becomes the radix of the 
system from sixty to a hundred." {Lardner's Arithmeiic, page 11.) 


source, that fingers and toes must all be pressed Into service, to 
meet the common wants of number ; and when these have been 
exhausted, there has been found among some tribes, no power of 
thought or word or symbol for aught beyond. It indicates a pei iod 
long before a conception of any expedient for numerical progres- 
sions had dawned upon the savage brain ; and hence there is no 
example of the vlcenary scale having ever been extended even as 
far as to the second place of figures, or to 20 times 20 ; — nor 
probably even beyond one hundred. It is evident that when the 
necessity for expressing larger numbers began to be folt, the cum- 
brous scale of added " toes," must soon be dropped, and the range 
restricted to the more manageable mechanism of the ten "• fingers." 
And accordingly, we find the imperfect vicenary to be always 
overlaid by the denary, with glimpses of the former still appearing 
through its supplanter. 

The Sexagenary scale deserves notice only from its historical 
interest in having been from a very remote antiquity employed for 
particular purposes among the people from whom we derive our 
arithmetical notation, — an employment which has been perpet- 
uated throughout Europe and America, to the present, in the 
smaller divisions of time and of the circle. This scale is of course 
by far too cumbrous in the range of its units to have ever bad a 
true notation, or to be ever possible as an actual system, founded 
on its own radk. "With its enormous coratilication of figures, it 
would still require about /g- (or more than half) of the places of the 
common system to express its values. It has been found very use- 
ful, however, in its limited application, both from the rapidity of its 
progressions, and from the remarkably varied range of divisibility 
it permits. The number GO is divisible by 2, by 3, by 4, by 5, 
by 6, by 10, by 12, by 15, by 20, and by 30 ; and has indeed the 
greatest number of aliquot parts of any number below 120. 

Our " minutes," and " seconds" of the degree and of the hour, 
have thus an Oriental origin. In India, however, from whence the 
scale was derived, these divisions, as applied to time, had not the 
same value as Avith us ; as there the day itself was divided into GO 
parts, called guries, (hours of 24 minutes,) esLchgurie'mto 60 parts, 



called polls, (minutes of 24 of our seconds,) and lastly each i^oll 
into 60 niimiks, or twinklings of an eye, (four-tenths of a second.) 
It is believed that this division of time is retained by the Hindoos to 
the present day. They also employ a period of 60 yearSj as we do 
the century. 

In its astronomical application this scale has been found exceed- 
ingly useful. The properties of the circle require that it should be 
frequently divided into sixths, as well as into quarters ; the sixth being, 
as is well known, the radial arc, — or that whose chord is exactly 
equal to its radius. The zodiacal, or ecliptic circle of the heavens had 
from the earliest antiquity been divided into twelfths, a period rep- 
resenting approximately the movement of the sun during one luna- 
tion. As this comprised very nearly 30 days, the " sign " became 
naturally divided into 30 degrees ; and this expresses so closely the 
arc of the earth's orbit described in one mean solar day, that when 
the earth is moving slowest, (or at its aphelion,) it falls but 3 minutes 
■within one degree, and when it is moving fastest, (or at its perihelion,) 
it exceeds the degree by only a single minute. The radial arc of 
two "signs," or 60 degrees, suggested its own subdivisions. Hence 
■was derived the table of 60 seconds to the minute, 60 minutes to the 
degree, and 60 degrees to the sextant, — 6 of these comprising the 
circle. This system, answering so well the requirements of various 
division, was introduced from India into the Alexandrian school, by 
the illustrious Ptolemy,* who did so much toward giving astronomy 
a scientific form. The sexagenary scale has never, however, been 
computed by any other than a denary radix. It must excite sur- 
prise, therefore, that the Hindoo notation of the scale was not also 
introduced by Ptolemy at the same time ; and the w^orld thus put 
in possession of this grand invention eight centuries earlier than it 
■was by the Arabic importation.! 

* Althoi;gh tlic sexagesimal arithmetic is commonly ascribed tO'Ptolemr, it is prob- 
ably an Eastern invention. The Indians to this day, employ the sexagesimal division 
of time." {Edinburgh Encyclopedia, art. "Arithmetic." 

t The Greeks, like the Hebrews, Arabs, and all other nations excepting the Hindoos, 
employed an alphabetic numeral; and it is a somewhat curious circumstance that our 
modern character for the cipher, was derived not from India or Arabia, but from Alex- 
andria. The Hindoos indicated the cipher place by a simple dot, (•) and the Arabians, 
in borrowing their system, did the same ; until the sexagenary system, introduced by 


In our survey of the principal scales, from which alone a selec- 
tion could be made for popular uses, we have found that there are 
certain incidental, but opposing advantages, incompatible with each 
other; and that no scale, therefore, could possibly furnish a maxi- 
mum of every condition that might be thought desirable. Thus the 
binary scale affords so admirable a simplicity, beauty and facility, 
that it would have to be regarded the perfect system, did not its 
redundant employment of figures, (the necessary consequence of 
its simplicity,) render it unsuited to the small and constant calcula- 
tions required in the daily course of trade. On the other hand, 
the manifold divisions permitted by the sexagenary scale, give it 
convenient qualities, impossible to the lower scales ; but here 
we find a complication so onerous that it would appal the most in- 
veterate of calculating monomaniacs. 

The conditions, however, that are really most essential io an 
arithmetical radrx, are so few and precise, and their requirements 
so imperative, that there is little difficulty in deciding upon " the 
best possible scale of numeration." The first consideration Avould 
naturally have regard to the size of the radix, in order to assign 
certain limits within which our scale is to be found. To realize a 
maximum convenience, it must ba neither too large, nor too small. 
We have seen that while the notation of places (and the conse- 
quent labor of transcription,) diminishes very slowly with the 
ascending scales, — the tax upon the mental faculties, increases in 
a far more rapid ratio. The labor of mere calculation, which may 
be estimated at zero for the binary scale, advances materially, and 
in a compound ratio with every figure added to the radix. Were 
we then required to choose between any two scales — separated by 

Plotemy so many centuries before, supplied them with a new character. Tliis philos- 
opher, finding a frequent occasion to mark the absence of a particular denomination, 
(as "no minutes," or "no seconds,") in order to avoid mistake, employed the first 
vacant letter of the alphabet for that purpose. As the Greek numeral for 60 is 
the letter | all those which followed would be useless for the sexagenary scale; 
hence the next letter, o (omicron) naturally became the empty counter. This no- 
tation became established by long habit among the astronomers of Alexandria, Con- 
stantinople, and Arabia ; and finally crept into the Hindoo system of numerals. Thus 
to the accidental position of the Greek letter omicron, which happened to represent 
seventy, we are indebted for the present form of our modern cipher, as a circle, instead 
of a decimal period. 


a considerable interval, that is, between a very small one and a 
very large one, (no other insuperable objection being supposed) we 
should adopt, unhesitatingly, the smaller one. The advantage im- 
agined by some, of the great expressiveness of a rapid increase of 
value, is wholly illusory. It needs comparatively very few figures, 
in anv case, to carry us not only beyond all true conceptions of 
mao-nitude, but beyond all rational requirement of any real calcula- 
tions we can devise.* There is, in the law of continued geometrical 
progression, even on its lowest scale, a power so overwhelming, 
that we feel we have no extra wonder or admiration left to spare, 
unon these " infinites of higher order," and confess to a predilec- 
tion not to travel at such dizzying speed. 

The world has had some centuries of experience in the denary 
arithmetic. Wc are all familiar with the laborious and tedious dis- 
cipline by which its practice is acquired ; and we are all conscious 
of the exertion of thought demanded to perform a lengthy opera- 
tion in figures. When we consider the amount of time bestowed 
in training youth in this branch of learning ; and yet the. fact that 
not one half so trained, are really expert in calculation, we must 
record it as our deliberate conviction, that the denal radix is too 
large. We believe that a lower figure would give the true desid- 
eratum — the minimum of labor. Nay, as between the scale of 

* To give an illustration of the truly infinite power of figures, let us strain our im- 
agination to devise some overwhelming pi-oduct. Light, which (were it prone to devi- 
ous courses,) would flash around our globe in eight completed revolutions during one 
single tick of the clock's pendulum, would travel in one hundred thousand years, only 
607 thousand billions of miles, (a period of 18 figures) — or multiplied by the inches in 
the mile, — 38,463 trillions of inches; (requiring 23 fignres.) According to the received 
data of the undulatory theory, the extreme violet ray of the luminous beam (the most 
rapid of the prismatic spectrum,) vibrates 727 millions of millions of times in a second! 
Let us suppose the remotest of the telescopic nebultB to be in light measure, one hun- 
dred millions of years distant; — how many undulations must its light perform before 
reaching our eye? Nay, as we can only conceive of the material or stellar universe as 
a finite extension (or point) in the infinite void, let us suppose (for dcfiniteness of idea !) 
that the confines of this entire Cosmos wei-e sixty thousand times more distant than this 
faintest nebula, — or six billions of yeaVs, — even then the undulations of light through- 
out that unimaginable space, would be expressed by 137,051 quintillions; (or3G figures.) 
Or if we wing our flight as far in the opposite direction, wc do but multiply these 
fio-ures by 2, for the whole extent, — without even adding a single place of figures to 
express this entire diameter! (275,302 quintillions). And this may all bo written down 
with ease — upon the thumb-nail! 


ten and that of six, we incline to the opinion that the latter would 
be foaml the more convenient notation. Its labor, both of 
acquisition and of exercise, would certainly be far less than half; 
while its figures in use would onlj' be about a third more. A 2:>riori, 
we might expect that a scale established in rude and inexperienced 
times, (were it not that it was reallj determined by an arbitrary 
and extraneous circumstance) — would be too large in its ratio of 
progression, — rather than too small; and that a more enlightened 
age woul 1 find it convenient to reduce it ; just as we have seen to 
occur with the vicenary and the denary scales, in their early 

The second essential that should be demanded in a radix is that 
it must admit of indefinite bisection, or in other words, that it must 
be found among the powers of two; namely, 4, 8, or 16. As 4 is 
probably too small, and 16 certainly too large, — we have the 
octonary scale alone left to satisfy our two most vital conditions of a 
medium size, and a complete divisibility. The concurrence of these 
qualities in any one scale, and in that one alone, is sufficient to 
establish its claims against all competitors. There is but one scale 
which could have any pretensions to be considered a rival, or which 
would be likely to find intelligent advocates; and that is the duo- 
denary. Much stress has been laid upon the number of its aliquot 
parts. That this quality is a highly useful one, we frankly 
acknowledge, but yet, as we maintain, not near so useful as that 
other quality this radix lacks, the facility of successive halving. 
The number 12 is not a power ; the number 8 is a cube; — an im- 
portant advantage in several respects, but particularly in the appli- 
cation of this scale to a system of metrology, from the simple rela- 
tions thereby established between the measures of length and those 
of volume, — by which both weights and measures of capacity are 
determined. All that has been said on the subject of the denary 
being too large a scale, applies with much greater force against 
the duodenary. And, finally, we believe that a large majority of 
the mathematicians Avould give their vote unhesitatingly in favor of 
the octonary arithmetic. It appears to combine advantages of the 
very first importance, and those impossible in any other scale. 


"While perfectly adapted to the highest requirements of science, it 
is as exactly suited to the trivial wants and petty occasions of our 
daily life. It possesses a degree of simplicity the most attainable 
without a sensible increase of figuring. The simple suppression of 
the two largest digits of our common systen (8 and 9) throughout 
every place of figures, would be found, we think, to reduce the 
working labor by at least one half. In choosing between a radix 
of a second power, (as 4,) and one of a third power, the latter 
would for several reasons be preferred. It would undoubtedly be 
advantageous for it to be at the same time both a square and a cube. 
But unfortunately we can meet with no such favored number, until 
w^e reach the period 64. Our octonary radix is, therefore, beyond 
all comparison the " best possible one^'' for an arithmetical system. 

After this somewhat tedious preparatory exposition, we now pro- 
pose to briefly develop the scale of numeration thus selected; and 
to derive from it an ideal sj'stem of measures, based throughout 
upon the leading ideas of the French system ; — availing ourselves, 
as we believe, of every beauty and refinement oifered by it, and 
avoiding, as we are no less firmly persuaded, every difficulty, and 
defect inherent in it. Let us attempt to employ our proposed scale 
of number in the first place, by putting it in an intelligible form. 
Although we might readily discriminate between the octonary and 
the denary notation by the simple expedient of using a somewhat 
different tvpe, of our common figures, (suppressing the 8 and the 9,) 
yet even with this device, the association of local value is so strong 
that it would not be easy to avoid confusion of idea in attempting 
to read and understand the unfamiliar conversion. It will be found 
much easier, therefore, to devise a set of characters for the octo- 
nary scale ; which should be entirely distinct both from the letters 
of the alphabet, and from our ordinary figures. To assist us still 
more in reading them, these characters might be made significant 
symbols, by the number of lines employed in the construction of 
each, though this would be a matter of very little importance in a 
form of character that should be permanently adopted. The char- 
acters should all be simple ; they should all have the same size, for 
the obvious convenience of the typographic " dress ; " and they 


should be so distinctive, that no one could easily be mistaken for 
another. Let us then represent one by L ; tu'o by C ; th7-ee by 
6 ; four by F ; five by P ; six by G ; and seven by B ; the cipher 
having no intrinsic value, may very well continue to be still repre- 
sented by 0. Our eight digits, then, (if we must still use so bar- 
barian and unmathematical a designation,)* Avould stand thus : 

In reading these octonary numbers, a distinctive name for each, 
as well as for the places occupied by them, would become even 
more necessary than a distinctive form. The terms '* ten," " hun- 
dred," thousand," especially, are too essentially decimal in their 
origin, and too ineffaceably stamped by usage in their significance, 
to permit their use in any novel application. The names, like the 
symbols, should be both as simple and as distinct as possible. The 
simplest name is a monosyllable, containing but one consonant, and 
one vowel sound. Let this then be the rule of our numerical vocab- 
ulary. It will be convenient and even advisable to preserve a re- 
semblance to the popular numerical language, that the analogy of 
structure may be the more apparent. The word owe, will naturally 
give us the French " un," — hvo, will give us " du; " — tJi7'ee will 
give us "the;" the consonant sound being really a simple one, 
although requiring two letters in our language. The word " tre " 
would have been better, as being very near the Latin t7'es, the 
Greek treis, and the original Sanscrit tri ; f but the double conso- 

* It has been sometimes remarked by advocates of the octonarj- arithmetic, that if our 
stupid ancestors had only used their thumbs as the counters of the digits, they would 
have found that they had but eight fingers, and we should then have had the octaval 
period — "founded in nature." It may be supposed from the preceding discussion of 
this subject, that we attach but little importance to such a consideration. 

t It is a matter of curious philological interest to trace the Sanscrit or ancient Indian 
parentage of all our modern European languages ; especially in the names of the nu- 
merals. In this particular the different vocabularies of the numerous and wide-spread 
races, — of the Celtic, the Romaic, the Sclavonic, and the Gothic, with its two great 
families of the Scandinavian, and the Teutonic, — appear only as dialects of each 
other. The names of the first ten numbers, in a few languages, are here selected, 
mainly from the Introduction to Bosworth's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. 



nant exclufles it under our rule. The word four will give us " fo;" 
but for five, in order to avoid a consonant recurrence, we shall 
have to resort to the original Sanscrit, pancha, which vill give 
us " pa." Our six will give us " si " or " se ; " but for our next 
number, as Ave can derive no satisfactory help from English or 
Latin, Greek or Sanscrit, we are driven to some arbitrary syllable. 
As seven is the last of our series, Ave may accept the single inde- 
pendent term Avith less reluctance; and that its sound may be as 
distinctively marked as possible, let us call it " ki." 

Here, then, Ave have assigned for each of the numerals " a local 
habitation and a name." 

L Un; C Du; 6 The; P Fo ; P Fa; U Se ; B KL 
Our decades — twenty, thirty, forty, — offer us the very suitable and 
simple suffix " ty " to designate our octades. Our hundred suggests 
the S}'llable "der" as a convenient designation of the third place 










Aika .... 









Dwau . . . 


















Cliatur . . . 









Pancha . . 



qu nque 






Shasli. . . . 









Saptan . . . 









Ashta. . . . 









Navan . . . 









Dashan . . 









That these Sanscrit terms should have been so widely diffused, while yet no traces 
of the Hindoo arithmetical notation should ever have been found outside of India, 
would seem to show that this derivation was antecedent to the formation of a writtea 
language; or, at least, prior to the invention of the c/p/fer. A nomenclature may be 
ea.sily tnnismitted orally or by tradition: a notation could be communicated and pre- 
served only by records. 

We may here remark, that to the Sanscrit we are indebted for the denominations of 
our two lowest coins. From the Sanscrit Saia or Shntum (a hundred), through the 
Latin centum we obtain our "cent;" and from the Sanscrit Dasa or Dashan (\.qx\), 
through the Latin decern, and the French disme or dime, wc obtain the name of our 
" ten-cent piece." 


of figures ; and our thousand, -will give us " sen." And here we 
may improve upon our present mode of expressing " places " by 
employing these distinctive suffixes, as independent nouns, signifi- 
cant of a particular order of units, 'oithout reference to any special 
or intrinsic value. Thus a simple unit would indicate any figure 
occupying the first place ; a Ty would indicate any figure occupy- 
ing the second place; a Der, any figure occupying the third place, 

But mindful of that prudent law — " economy of means," — 
and not to burden our infant scheme with too great a load of unfa- 
miliar nomenclature, (always the greatest obstacle to the reception 
of any novel system,) let us resort to combinations of these simple 
suffixes, instead of applying a new term to each new place of 
figures. By this means we shall be required to introduce new 
terms, only at the successive and advancing powers of each great 
unit. Thus using " Ty " for the second place, and " Der " for the 
third place, we may very well employ the word " Ty-der " for the 
fourth place, " Sen " for the fifth place, " Ty-sen " for the sixth 
place, " Der-sen " for the seventh place, and " Ty-der-sen" for the 
eighth place. Here is a pause ; and to do honor to the number 
eighty — this should comprise one independent period of figures ; to 
bo followed by a new term, the analogue of our million.* We 
cannot derive a convenient suffix, however, from this term ; we shall 
therefore have to coin a new one. Let us call our great figure 
Kaly. We have thus the progression ; one " Ty " squared, is one 
" Der; " one " Der " squared, is one " Sen ; " one " Sen " squared, 
is one " Kaly ; " the intermediate places being expressed by the 
obvious compounds of these words. Or to illustrate the series pro- 
posed, by our own decimal terms, it is as though having assigned eight 
places of figures instead of sLx, for our million origin, we should 
reach it by this scale : tens, hundreds, ten-hundreds, thousands, 
ten-thousands, hundred-thousands, ten-hundred-thousands, millions : 

* Our Million, the square of the Roman Mille, is a comparatively modern word; and 
useful as it is now universally esteemed, it appears on its first introduction to have met 
with but little favor. " Bishop Tonstall, -who has discussed at great length the Latin 
nomenclature of numbers, speaks of the term million as in common use, but he rejects 
it as barbarous." (Peacock's Arithmetic.) 



the " ten-hundreds," and the "ten-hundred-thousands," being in- 
terpolated places. 

Words manufactured to meet a new want, have always a some- 
what barbarous and uncouth sound, until familiarized by custom ; 
and are usually received but slowly and with reluctance. Unless 
they can boast a pedigree and a history, they must expect from 
the world, like other parvenus, no very cordial greeting. From 
the habits of thought of a very large majority of mankind, it is 
found so much easier to use old words in a double sense, than to 
accept the precision of a new phraseology, that there is little doubt 
the octonary notation could be much more readily taught (except 
10 children) by simply erasing the figures 8 and 9, from the com- 
mon arithmetic. That it is more philosophical, however, to assign 
to everything its own appropriate name, can scarcely need a formal 
statement ; and if the system now proposed have the high claims 
and merits we have represented, we think that no apology is 
required for the attempt to clothe it in a fitting garb. We here 
present accordingly the numeration table, as resulting from the 
names we have just above suggested : 

Nitmeratioii Table. 


= 1 

LL, Unty-un 

= 9 

CL, Duty-un 



GL, Thety-un 

= 25 

C, Du 

= 2 

LC, Unty-du 

= 10 

CC, Duty-du 



eC, Thety-du 

= 26 

6, The 

= 3 

LC, Unty -the 

= 11 

Ce, Duty-the 



66, Thety-the 

= 27 

F, Fo 

= 4 

LP, Unty-fo 

= 12 

CP, Duty-fo 



eP, Thety-fo 

= 28 


= 5 

LP, Unty -pa 

= 13 

CP, Duty-pa 



6P, Thcty-pa 

= 29 


= 6 

LB, Unty-se 

= 14 

CB, Duty-se 



6B, Thcty-se 

= 30 

B, Ki 

= 7 

LQ, Unty-ki 

= 15 

CB, Duty-ki 



GB, Thoty-ki 

= 31 

LO, Unty 

= 8 

CO, Duty 

= 16 

60, Thety 



PO, Foty 

= 32 

PL, Foty-im 

= 33 

PL, Taty-un 

= 41 

BL, Sety-un 



BL, Kity-un 

= 57 

PC, l<"oty-du 

= 34 

PC, Paty-du 

= 42 

BC, Scty-du 



BC, Kity-du 

= 53 

Pe, Foty-thc 

— 35 

PG, Paty-thc 

= 43 

Be, Scty-thc 



BG, Kity-thc 

= 59 

PP, Foty-fo 

= 30 

PF, I'aty-fo 

= 44 

BF, Sety-fo 



BP, Kity-fo 

= CO 

PP, Foty-pa 

= 37 

PP, Paty-pa 

= 45 

BP, Scty -pa 



BP, Kity-pa 

= 61 

PB, Foty-se 

= 38 

PG, Paty-sc 

= 40 

BB, Scty-se 



BG, Kity-sc 

= 62 

PO, Foty-ki 

— 39 

PD, Paty-ki 

= 47 

EB, Scty-ki 



B3, Kity-ki 

= 63 

PO, Paty 

= 40 

BO, Scty 

= 48 

DO, Kity 



LOO, Under 

= 6-1 



It will be seen by this table that we have no peculiar word cor- 
responding to the " ten " of the denary scale ; and this we regard 
as an advantage, not only in being more systematic, but in giving 
greater precision of expression and idea. Instead of using the 
same word to indicate both a place, or local value (as the " ten- 
place,"} and a specific number, we are furnished with two distinct 
words, — ''Ty" designating the place, and " Unty " specifying 
one in the ty-placo, as " Duty " specifies two in the ty-place. All 
tliat is needed to carry out this system is to add a table of places. 

Notation Table. 







L Un 

LO Unty 

LOO Under 

LOOO Untyder 

L,0000 Unsen 

10,0000 Untysen 

C Du 

CO Duty 

COO Duder 

COOO Dutyder 

C,0000 Dusen 

C0,0000 Dutysen 

e The 

EO Thety 

600 Theder 

6000 Tlietyder 

6,0000 Tliesen 

600000 Thctysen 

P Fo 

FO Foty 

POO Foder 

POOO Fotyder 

F,0000 Fosen 

F0,0000 Fotysen 

P Pa 

PO Paty 

POO Padcr 

POOO Patydcr 

P,0000 Pasen 

P0,0000 Patysen 

G Se 

EO Sety 

BOO Seder 

BOOO Setyder 

G.OOOO Sesen 

B0,0000 Setysen 

B Ki 

BO Kity 

BOO Kider 

BOOO Kityder 

B,0000 Risen 

B0,0000 Kitysen 




100,0000 Undersen 

1000,0000 Untydersen 

1,0000,0000 Unkaly 

COO.OOOO Dudersen 

C000,0000 Dutydersen 

C,0000,0000 Dukaly 

600,0000 Thedersen 

6000,0000 Thetydersen 

6,0000,0000 Thekaly 

F00,0000 Fodersen 

F000,0000 Fotydcrsen 

F,0000,0000 Fokaly 

P00,0000 Padersen 

P000,0000 Patydersen 

P,0000,C000 Pakaly 

600,0000 Sedersen 

EOOO.OOOO Setydersen 

B,OOOU,0000 Sckaly 

B00,0000 Kidersen 

B000,0000 Kitydersen 

B,0000,0000 Kikaly 

The Unkaly is the eighth (or untieth) power of Unty. Its value is 
16,777216 ; and it requires but one more figure to express this large 
amount, than is required by the denary scale. A second place of 
figures is not lost by our new system, — that is, its notation does not 
exceed that cf the common system by two places, until the number 



8589,934592 is reached ; these 10 figures requiring 12 (namely 
L and eleven ciphers) in the octonary scale to represent their 
value. If this should appear surprising to any, it must be remem- 
bered, that although at 8, and at 64, an additional figure is re- 
quired by the octonary system, yet after 10 and 100, the denary 
also requires this additional figure ; and considering this, we shall 
find that the two scales are equal in the number of places occupied, 
— from 1 to 7, inclusive, — from 10 to G3, inclusive, — from 100 
to 511, — from 1000 to 4095, — from 10,000 to 32767, — from 
100,000 t9 262143, — from 1,000000 to 2,097151, — from 
10,000000*to 16,777215, — from 100,000000 to 134,217727,— 
and fur the last overtaking, from 1000,000000 to 1073.741823. 
After this long continued chase, the octonary scale at the next 
figure, or 1073,741824, (Under-Kaly) loses a place n'hich is never 
regained. It may not be uninteresting to add, that this scale doea 
not obtain an excess of three places until it reaches the enormous 
number of 9 trillions, 223372 billions, 036854 millions, 775808, 
these 19 figures being expressed by L and 21 ciphers. This 
amount diminished by a single unit, or by the last figure 8 being 
exchanged for a 7, is expressed in the octonary system by 21 his 
(B) which would be an excess of only two places of figures. 

Turning from this comparison of the relative powers of the two 
scales, to their relative simplicity, as exemplified by the octonary 
multiplication table, we shall find the contrast here as striking as 
was their parity on the other hand remarkable. 

Multiplication Table. 




































The mere in.=5pection of this table,* is sufficient to show, that the 
time and hibor of acquiring it would not be haif that required for 
committing to memory our received form ; and this facility of 
acquisition would include ahnost a corresponding degree of readi- 
ness in its use. Figures, like furniture stored in the chambers 
of the brain, require a constant attention and arranging, to be kept 
in state for use ; and the amount of care and trouble unconsciously 
bestowed u[io;i them, must be proportioned to the number of the 
pieces after which we have to look. We think, therefore, that it 
is no idle boast to say that a child could be taught a thorough 
knowledge of the four great rules of arithmetic, and a ready skill 
in their practical applications, through the octonary system, in one 
half the time required for obtaining an equal knowledge and skill 
by the common system. Nur is this simplification of arithmetical 
operations its only merit. The danger of error increases rapidly 
with the increasing complexity of the numeric scale ; and there 
is no doubt that our new sy.-tem would ensure an increase of accu- 
racy, at least equal to its ratio of simplicity. And if to this were 
added the facility which would result from constructing all our 
tables of weight and measure upon this scale — (a scale so admi- 
rably suited to them,) and thereby entirely discarding the whole 
tedious and troublesome practice of " reduction," from our Arith- 
metic, — the economy of time and labor would be something quite 
astounding. f 

* This table might be expressed in our own figures, in the following form, remember 
ing that these figures have all an octonary value : 

2X-i= -i 


3 X 3 =: 11 

2 X 4 = 10 

3 X 4 = 14 

4 X 4 = 20 

2 X 5 = 12 

3 X 5 = 17 

4 X 5 = 24 

5 X 5 = 31 

2 X = 14 

3 X = 22 

4 X = 30 

5 X = 30 

6 X = 44 

2 X 7 = 10 

3 X 7 = 25 

4 X 7 = 34 

5 X 7 = 43 

X 7 = 52 


= 61 

t " It is impossible to estimate with any degree of accurac}^," says Mr. Nichol, " the 
amount of labor annuallj^ thrown away by the nation at large, while persisting in per- 
forming the manifold computations necessaiy to its gigantic commerce and industry, 
by means of a series of tables so needlessly complicated and imperfect as those now in 



Our exposition of the subject of numeration has been so extended 
that neither time nor space will now permit us to illustrate the 
practical working of tlie arithmetical system here proposed, as we 
had intended. It is evident, however, that w'e are here equipped 
with a mechanism fully adequate to the resolution and expression 
of all arithmetical operations. Framed by a strict analogy with 
our present system, it aflfijrds us every facility and advantage that 
this can boast ; and differing from it only in the number of its 
integers, it relieves us entirely from the difficulties and embarrass- 
ments which have ever been the opprobrium of our decimal scale. 
Merely to exhibit the form and method of our scheme, we may 
here indicate that the present year " 1859 " would in the octonary 
style be expressed 6P06 : — Thety pader and the. The diameter 
of the earth (7,925 miles,) would be expressed L.BG6P : Crisen, 
Eity tJieder setypa ; or in feet (41,847088) — C,6QP0,FBCF : — 
DuJcaly, thety Jdder pafysen^foty seder duty-fo. 

We now proceed as rapidly as possible to the application of this 
improved numeration to the determination and distribution of a 
system of w^eights and measures. Of all the systems of metrology 
yet perfected, or even proposed, that of the French, is in the philo- 
sophical character of its standards, as well as in the ingenuity, 
simplicity, and precision of its details, undoubt:dly by far the 
most admirable, and the most worthy of our imitation. '■ The 
French system," says Mr. Adams in the excellent Eeport on 
Weights and Measures, from which we have already more than 
once had occasion to quote, " embraces all the great and impor- 
tant principles of uniformity which can be applied to weights and 
measures. But that system is not yet complete ; it is susceptible 
of many modifications and iinprovements. Considered merely as 
a labor-saving machine, it is a new power offered to man incompar- 
ably greater than that which he has acquired by the new agency 

use. But the waste of time and loss of money must be something quite enormous, 
while every clay it becomes greater and greater. Were the different denominations of 
weights, measures and money brought into harmony with the fundamental principle of 
our common arithmetic, it maybe safely affu-med that the labor of commercial and pro- 
fessional calculations would be reduced much below one-half of what is now expended 
in this direction, while the risk of errors would he diminished in a still grcnter ratio." 
{Encyclopedia of the Physical Sciences, art. Weights and Measures, page 778.) 


which he has given to steam. It is in design the greatest inven- 
tion of human ingenuity since that of printing. But hke that and 
every other useful and comphcated invention, it could not be struck 
out perfect at a heat. Time and experience have ^Iready dictated 
many improvements of its mechanism. But all the radical princi- 
ples of uniformity are in the machine. . . . Ujiiformity of 
weights and measures, — permanent, universal uniformity, adapted 
to the nature of things, to the physical organization and to the 
moral improvement of man, — would be a blessing of such transcen- 
dent magnitude, that if there existed upon earth a combination of 
power and will, adequate to accomplish the result by the energy 
of a single act, the being who should exercise it would be among 
the greatest of benefactors of the human race. The glory of the 
first attempt belongs to France, France first surveyed the subject 
of weights and measures in all its extent and all its compass. 
France first beheld it as involving the interests, the comforts, and 

the morals, of all nations, and of all after ages In 

freely avowing the hope that the exalted purpose first conceived 
by France may be improved, perfected, and ultimately adopted by 
the United States and by all other nations, equal freedom has been 
indulged in pointing out the errors and imperfections of that sys- 
tem, which have attended its origin, progress, and present condi- 

Looking at the French metre simply as a practical material 
standard, (without any reference to its ideal derivation,) the first 
criticism we would naturally have to make upon it, is that it gives 
us a measure most unfortunate in its size. Like our own awkward 
yard stick, it is not such a rule as we can conveniently carry about 
with us : * it is not such a rule as we would measure our houses 

* " Perhaps for half the occasions -which arise in the life of every individual, for the 
use of a linear measure, the instrument to suit his purposes must be portable, and fit to 
be carried in his pocket For all the ordinary purposes of mensuration, except- 
ing itinerary measure, the metre is too long a standard unit of nature. It was a unit 
most especially inconvenient as a substitute for the foot, a measure to which, with 
trifling variations of length, all the European nations and their descendants were 
accustomed. The foot rule has a prope>rty very important to all the mechanical pro- 
fessions, which have constant occasion for its use: it is light, and easily portable about 
the person. The metre very suitable for a staff, or for measuring any portion of the 


by, or the furniture -within them ; it is not such a rule as the 
drauglitsman could employ, or the carpenter cut, or lay off his 
boards by ; it is not such a rule as the mechanic could use in his 
\York3hop, or the machinist handle in fitting his engines. In short, 
as a p:;pular standard, it is utterly useless except on the counter of 
the draper. Theoretically, it matters little whether our unit of 
reference be the inch or the mile ; but for the practical business of 
daily life it becomes a matter of the very highest importance, that 
our unit of measure should be such a one as shall have the most 
convenient and universal application. 

Two standards only have ever had a general use and currency, 
— the cubit and the foot. Both deris'ed from the human person, 
it is natural they should be found the most useful measures for the 
common wants of the person. The cubit may be said to be almost 
a natural standard ; and it is the most ancient of measures, while 
it is still prevalent throughout the orient. Universal, or nearly so, 
throughout the nations of antiquity, — it was the common measure 
of the Israelites, and is referred to in their earliest records. The 
ark is measured by cubits (Gen. vi. 15,) and the height of 
the flood is in cubits. Goliath's height was six cubits and a span. 
The temple of Solomon is measured in cubits ; and walls of cities 
are measured by tlie same. (2 Kings xiv. 13.) The foot appears 
to be a much later standard of measure. Introduced by the Greeks 
and Romans, it has prevailed in modern times wherever the Roman 
influence has been felt.* 

earth, has not the property of being portable about the person; and for all the profes- 
sions concerned in ship or house building, and for all who have occasion to use mathe- 
matical instruments, it is quite unsuitable. It serves perfectly well as a substitute for 
the yard or ell, the fathom or perch; but not for the foot. This inconvenience, great 
in itself, is made irreparal)le when combined with the exclusive principle of decimal 
divisions. Tlie union of the metre, and of decimal arithmetic, rejected all compromise 
■with the foot. There was no legitimate extension of matter intermediate between the 
ell and the palm, between forty inches and four. This decimal despotism was found 
too arbitrary for endurance." — {Adams's Rejwrt on Weights and Measures) 

* " The ciibit was also a primitive measure of length among the Greeks; but at the 
institution of the Ol3'mpic games by Hercules, his foot is said to have been substituted 
as the unit of measure for the foot-race. Six hundred of tliese feet constituted the 
stadium or length of the course or stand, which thenceforth became the standard itin- 
erary measure of the nation. It was afterwards by the Romans combined with the 
pace, a thousand of which constituted the 7;w7e. The foot and the mile, or thousand 


If the foot has been found a more manageable multiple of both 
the pace and the fathom or its half — the ell, — than the cubit, we 
are disposed to regard the latter as the more beautiful and useful 
rule, and the more convenient unit of length. Certainly the occa- 
sions are not unfrequent, when we need the addition of a few 
inches to cur foot-rule to measure common objects. At all events 
in selecting a standard, adapted to the popular wants, it may be 
regarded as tolerably manifest, that its length should not be less 
than a foot, and that it should not exceed two feet, — the common 
carpenter's rule. The cubit is the mean between these extreme 

This consideration brings us to the derivation of the standard. 
" In all the proceedings " says Mr. Adams, "whether of learned 
and philosophical institutions, or of legislative bodies relating to 
weights and measures within the last century, an immutable and 
invaiiable standard from nature, of linear measure, has been con- 
sidered as the great desideratum for the basis of any system of 
metrology. It is one of the greatest merits of the French system 
to have furnished such a standard for the benefit of all mankind. 
.... In the establishment of the French system, the pendulum, 
as well as the meridian, has been measured ; but the standard 
was after a long deliberation, after a cool and impartial estimate of 
the comparative advantages and inconveniences of both, defini- 
tively assigned to the arc of the meridian, in departure fiom an 
original prepossession in favor of the pendulum." A writer in the 
Edinburgh Review for Jan., 1807, remarks: "Three different 
units fell under the consideration of these philosophers, to wit, the 
length of the pendulum, the quadrant of the meridian, and the 
quadrant of the equator. If the first of these was to be adopted, 
the commissioners were of opinion that the pendulum vibrating 
seconds in the parallel of 45 degrees deserved the preference, 

paces, are our standard measures of length at this day. The foot has over the cubit, 
the advantage of being a common aliquot part of the pace and the fathom; and affords 
the natural means of reducing the two standard measures of lengih to one. Its adop- 
tion was therefore a great and important advance towards uniformity; and this may 
account for the universal abandonment by all the modern nations of Europe, of that 
primitive antediluvian standard of measure, the cubit." — (Adams's Report on Wtights 
and Measures.) 


because it is the arithmetical mean between the like pendulums in 
all other latitudes. Thej observed, however, that the pendulum 
involves one element which is heterogeneous, to wit, time ; and 
another which is arbitrary, to wit, the division of the day into 
80,400 seconds. It seemed to them better that the unit of length 
should not depend on a quantity, of a kind different from itself, nor 
on anything that was arbitrarily assumed. The Commissioners 
therefore were brought to deliberate between the quadrant of the 
equator, and the quadrant of the meridian ; and they were deter- 
mined to fix on the latter, because it is most accessible, and 
because it can be ascertained with the most precision." (^Edin- 
hurgh Review, Vol. 9, p 379.) * 

That this selection was wise at the time it was made, cannot be 
doubted. That it would be wiser now to select the equator, can 
we think bo made equally evident. By the modern methods of 
electro-magnetic determination of longitude, an arc of the equator 
could now be ascertained with as much accuracy, as one of a meri- 
dian, and perhaps with even greater precision. A national, or, 
what would be far nobler, an international commission, liberally 
endowed with every needed equipment, for measuring in South 
America, and in Africa, arcs of the equator, — if possible entirely 
across either continent ; and also (what would be very important) 
one through the opposite island of Borneo, — is an enterprise due to 
the enlightened spirit and scientific progress of the age, and would 
be one worthy of the united wisdom and resources of the three 
greatest nations of the world. The determination of the precise 
figure and dimensions of our globe, — that fundamental problem of 
practical astronomy, — is one of such transcendent importance, that 
no outlays should be regarded as injudicious or misap[)lied, that 
would offer the prospect of even a slight improvement in the accu- 
racy of our results. 

The equator is, in the first place, undoubtedly the true girth 
and measure of the earth ; and the circumference should always be 
understood to be this natural measure, unless otherwise specified. 
In the next place, the meridian not being a circle (owing to the 

* See note C — appended to this Report. 


polar flattening of the earth.) no two degrees of its quadrant have 
exactly the same value ; which renders the estimates of its degrees 
exceedingly awkward. According to the computations of Mr. T. 
J. Cram, (Siihman's Journal cf Science for 1837, vol. 31, page 
2-^0.) one degree of latitude at the pole is equal to 69.39759375 
miles, while one degree at the equator is only 68.70S59o75 
miles, — a difference of more than two thirds of a mile ! In addi- 
tion to all this there is somo reason for doubting whether different 
meridians are uniform in length and curvature. An arc of the 
meridian south of the equator, measured in 1752, by Lacaille. (at 
the Cape of Good Hope) gave very unsatisfactory results.* 

But through the reductions of various eminent mathematicians 
we have now the equatorial circumference of the earth as well and 
accurately determined as any other measure of it. The two best 
and most recent determinations of the earth's equatorial diameter, 
are those of Bessel, and Airy, who, by independent calculations, 
agree in the value 7925.6 miles, and differ only by 234 feet ! 
Bessel making it 41,817,192 feet, and Airy, 41,847,426 feet. 
The mean of these results will give us 131,467,196 feet, as proba- 
bly a very close measure of the earth's equator. We have 
every reason, therefore, for deducing our standard of measure from 
this line, — the only true circle by which the earth is circum- 
scribed; — we have none for going back to the irregular meridian. 

In no particular has the decimal principle of the French system 
proved so signal and utter a failure, as in its application to the 
division of the circle. We have already noticed that the sixth part 
of the circle is one of its most fundamental divisions, — one which 
cannot be neglected for any theoretical advantage of adherence to 

* The result of Lacaille's measurement made a degree at the Cape of Good Hope 
nearly the same as ia France, ten degrees further from the equator. " Ou account of 
the anomalous result of this measure, indicating a dissimilarit}' of figure in the North- 
em and Southern hemispheres, doubts have frequently been entertained of its accu- 
racy." (Penny Cychpedia, vol. 25, page 215, art. " Trigonometrical Survey.") " After 
the lapse of nearly a century, the arc has been lately re-raeasured under the auspices 
of the British Government ; and an approximate calculation of the observations shows 
that the greater part of Lacaille's anomaly was produced by mountain attraction on his 
plumb line, (1855.) " (Encyclopedia Britannica, 8th edition, vol. 9., page 550, article, 
'Figure of the Earth," by Th. Galloway.) 


system. We have seen, moreover, how admirably our present 
division of the quadrant into 90 parts or decrees, answers all the 
various purposes required. In adding ten more degrees to the 
whole, so as to make an even hundred, the French philo-jophers 
sacriSced completely its primary and beautiful relations. The sex- 
tant no longer had a possible expression in the centesimal scale. 
A very brief experiment demonstrated, what should have been 
clearly anticipated without it, that the new degrees were wholly 
impracticable. This part of the system was therefore speedily and 
universally abandoned : * and yet this was really a surrender of the 
very foundation of tlie. metrical division. 

The onetre had been made the 10 millionth part of the quadrant, 
that the new degree might just represent 10 myriametres: but the 
abolition of this ideal degree, left the myriaraetre (and with it of 
course the metre) a most inconsequential and unmeaning unit. So 
that now the kilometre no longer represents a minute, and the 
decametre, a second, as was its original plan and purpose. 

The selection of the meridian, we may observe, necessarily in- 
volved a reference to its natural fraction, the quadrant ; the dis- 
tance from pole to equator : but had the equator been the standard 
chosen, inasmuch as it has no such natural measure, the sextant of 
it might just as properly have been made the starting unit, as its 
quadrant. And this would have escaped the principal difficulty : 
for the sextant will easily supply us with a multiple of the quad- 
rant, — though the latter may not conversely, so readily commen- 
surate the former. Instructed by such distinguished failures, let 
us then start with the sextant of the equator as our prime unit of 
measure. We shall thus be able to select a final modulus or rule, 
mainly with reference to its most desirable length, — no longer 
trammelled by the compounding of binary and tenary divisions. Ten 
million metres made the quadrant. Our octonary scale is also fur- 

* " The new metrology of France, tifter trying it [the principle of (lecimal division] 
in its most universal theoretical application, has been compelled to renounce it for all 
the measures of astronomy, geography, navigation, time, the circle, and the 
sphere; to modify it even for superficial and cubical linear measure, and to compound 
with vulgar fraction*, in the most ordinary and daily uses of all its weights and all its 
measures." {Adams''s Report.) 


nished with its grand unit (the eighth power of the octado,) which for 
want of a better name, we have christened unhdy [L. 0000, 0000]. 
The sextant of the equator is 21,911199i feet or 2G2,yo4302 inches. 
This divided octavally into unkaly parts, gives us the quotient 
15| inches; almoat exactly our ideal measure ! Midway between 
the two great rival standards of olden time, the cubit an I the foot,* 
it seems the very compromise of differences, the hannoniser 
of conflicting systems, and supplies us with a " module " per- 
fectly suited to every requirement of popular mensuration. It 
needs but the application of octonary multiples, to complete a 
metrology simple and unexceptionable. 

Before giving the table, however, we think it proper to suggest 
a slight modification in the divisions of the circle, as a subject con- 
trolling, to some extent, the details of our linear measures. Should 
the degree retain its present value as the oGOch part of the circle, 
we should advocate strongly the employment of this unit of the 
equatorial circle, as the origin of our new standard of measure. 
Dividing the degree into undersell parts (LOO, 0000) we should 
have a module about one inch longer than that previously obtained, 
and somewhat nearer, therefore, to the ancient cubit. Its exact 
length Av:uld be 16.717 inches. 

The number 60, however, approaches so near to the octonary 
under^ (64,) that the temptation would be very strong to reduce 
degrees, minutes, and seconds, to the simplicity of the general no- 
tation, unless there appeared some strong reason for retaining the 
presi.'ut sexagenary scale. But there is no special occasion fur 
dividing small arcs into thirds or sixths, that gives this ancient and 
venerable system any advantage comparable to that we should 
have of adding up, or subtracting degrees, minutes, and seconds by 
a single operation, instead of resorting as now to reduction. On 
the contrary, the need of frequent binal division is here, as with 
other values, very apparent ; and in this respect the number 60 is 

* As the Milan foot is 15.62 inches, (very nearly the precise length above derived) 
and as the ancient cubits varied no less from the average standard, that of ancient 
Rome being 17. 4G inches, while the covtd of China was between 14 and 15 inches, our 
new standard might be called with propriety either "cubit" or " foot." If either of 
these designations is to be accepted, we should certainly prefer the " cubit." 


very clefeclive, as it permits but two bisections. The mariner's 
compass affords us a good illustration of the convenience ex- 
perienced in a continued bisection of angles.* There would there- 
fore be a positive benefit in substituting the number 64 for 60. This 
would interpolate 4 degrees into the sextant, or 6 degrees into the 
quadrant ; making the right angle to be expressed by 96°, instead 
of 90^, as at present. This, then, is the table we should propose ; 
in which it will be seen, the present values of arc are not so altered 
as to disturb appreciably our long established ideas of degree, 
minute, and second. 

Divisions of the Circle. 



tortials make 1 second 


Q'f. 823074 



seconds ' 

1 minute 


52ff, 7343~5 



minutes ' 

1 degree 


(15)°or SC Wf 



degrees ' 

1 sextant 





degrees ' 

1 quadrant 





degrees ' 

the semicircle 





degrees ' 

the circle 



One obvious advantage of this scale, in addition to its simplifica- 
tion, would be to bring the azimuth compass into harmony with 
the mariner's compass, by giving them common measures. As 
the latter divides the quadrant into 8 " points " or " rhumbs," 
each of these would be LF° (12 degrees) instead 11*^ 15', as at 
present ; and the quarter-point would be 6° (3 degrees) instead of 
2° 48' 45". 

The zodiac, or ecliptic circle has from time immemorial been 
divided into twelve " signs." This would be found a very con- 
venient unit to be applied to such arcs generally ; as would also 
the smaller unit of its quarter, or L0°, the eighth part of the sex- 
tant. As there is no name for this, let us give it the name of 
" arc," (made technical and specific,) a name not inappropriate, 

* The cardinal points dividing the circle into quarter?, — each quadrant is divided 
into halves or octants, — each octant into halves and quarters, called " rhumbs " or 
" points," (8 in the quadrant,) — and finallj-, each of these points into halves and quar- 
ters; the rhumb or point being 11° 15', and the quarter rhumb or point, 2° 48' 45^''. 



since it is about the smallest arc we can readily distinguish from 
a straight line. This would give us the following scale : 

t.0° (8 degrees) 


1 arc 


T 30' 

F0° or 4 arcs 


1 sign 



B0° or arcs 


1 octant 



L00° or LO arcs or 




1 sextant 



LPO" or LP .arcs or 




1 quadrant 



Should the above scheme of graduation for the circle be accepted, 
it v>-ill give an admirable simplicity to our table of lengths, which 
without further preface is herewith subjoined : — 

Table of Linear Measure. 

1 point 


(2I0 inch nearly) 

0.0038 ins. 

U) (8) points 

make 1 line 


(gt inch nearly) 

0.03 " 

to (8) lines 

" 1 nail 


(| inch nearly) 

0.245 " 

LO (8) nails 

" 1 inch 


(2 inches nearly) 

1.959 " 

LO (8) inches 



(15g inches nearly) 

1 ft. 3.672 " 

LO (S) Modules 

" 1 rod, or pole 


3 yds. 

1 ft. 5.37 « 

LO (8) rods 

" 1 perch 


27 yds. 

2 ft. 7. " 

LO (8) perches 

" 1 furlong 


222 yds. 

2 ft. 8. " 

LO (8) furlongs 

" 1 mile 


1 mile, 23 yds 

. ft. 5. " 

LO (8) miles 

" 1 league 


8 miles, 185 yds. 

ft. 3. 

LO (8) leagues 

" 1 degree 


64 miles, 1480 yds. 

2 ft. 5. « 

to (8) degrees 

" 1 arc 


518 miles, 1280 yds. 

1 ft. 11. " 

LO (8) arcs 

" 1 sextant 


4,149 miles, 1493 yds. 

Oft. 4. " 

G (6) sextants 

" the circumference 


24,899 miles, 158 yds. 

2 ft. 

The table of lengths proper terminates with the league ; the 
denominations following being those of arc. From the derivation 
of the st:indard, however, they coincide with precise measures, and 
are therefore properly included in the table. The " point " gives 
a dimension about that of the section of a human hair, or of a very 
fine grain of sand, and may be considered about the limit of visible 
magnitude. It is therefore a very suitable origin of linear value, 
while it is an equally appropriate point of departure for microscopic 
measurements. The " nail," and the " inch " are not the best 
terms for designating the new values ; and are retained merely 


from the difficulty of replacing them. The " Module " would in 
all human probability continue to be called a " foot " ; though it 
deserves a name more expressive of its standard character. While 
this new mdre gives us one of the most convenient rules we could 
devise, it also supplies us with a highly useful ten-and-a-halffoot 
measuring pole. But the peculiar beauty of the new Module is, 
that it precisely corresponds with the tertial of the new degree. 
Under Modules make one second ; — (the " perch " ; ) — Under 
seconds make one minute ; (the " mile " ) — Under minutes make 
one degree ; and Under degrees — the Sextant. Or, progressing 
by the successive squares, — Unty Modules make the rod ; Under 
Modules make the perch ; Unsen Modules make the mile ; Unkalij 
Modules make the Sextant. 

As referred to the French measures, we have for the value of 
our principal new denominations the following: the "•line" = 
0.77746 millimetres; the " nail" = 6.21975 millimetres; the 
"inch "=4.9758 centimetres; the " module " = 3.9806 i deci- 
metres ; the " rod " = 3.18451 metres ; the " perch " = 2.54761 
decametres; the " furlong" = 2.03809 hectometres; the "mile" 
= 1.63047 kilometres; and the " league " = 1.30437 myria- 

For those measures in most common use, that is for those clus- 
tering immediately aroun.l the Module, it would doubtless be found 
highly convenient to give denominations to the halves and quarters ; 
and thus conform them to the universal popular tendency to binary 
divisions. We therefore propose the following supplementary 
table ; — not to be on any account incorporated with the preced- 
ing, nor in any respect to modify it ; but to retain always its sub- 
ordinate character. 

2 nails make 1 digit, = 

2 digits " 1 joint, = 

2 joints " 1 incli, = 

2 inches " 1 hand, = 

2 Iiands " 1 span, = 

2 spans " 1 Module, = 

2 Modules " 1 ell, = 

2 ells " 1 fathom, = 

2 fathoms " 1 rod, or pole, = 













2 ft. 



5 ft. 



10 ft. 





Our tables of area, or of surface mccsare, would of course be 

derived directly from our linear measures, by the familiar law of 


Table of Square Measure. 

LO (8) inches square, or LOO (G4) square incbes, 

LO (8) Modules square, or LOO (61) square Modules, 

LO (8) rods square, or LOO (04) square rods, 

LO (8) perches square, or LOO (04) square perches, 

LO (8) furlongs square, or LOO (04) square furlongs. 


1 square Module ; 
1 square rod : 
1 square perch: 
1 square furlong : 
1 square mile. 

For popular purposes, however, it would be necessary, or con- 
venient, to have more numerous denominations of area measure ; 
and a less rapid progression than that of unders, given in the above 
merely geometrical table of perfect squares. We therefore pro- 
pose to insert intermediate values, so as to give our table the sys- 
tematic or octonary form. 

Table of Area — or Surface Measure. 

LO (8) square Modules, make 

LO (8) sheetf, " 

LO (8) square rods, " 

LO (8) plats, " 

LO (8) square perches, " 

LO (8) acres, " 

LO (8) square furlongs, " 

LO (8) districts, " 

1 sq. Module = 

1 sheet, = 

1 sq. rod, = 

1 plat, ^ 

1 sq. perch, = 

1 acre, ^ 

1 sq. furlong, =: 

1 district, = 

1 ft. 101.C15 ins 

1 yd. 4 ft. 92.92 " 

12 yds. 1 ft. 2.3.304 " 

97yds. Oft. 42.9 " 

77Gyds. 2 ft. 55.3 « 

1 acre, 1370 yds. 1 ft. 10.42 " 

10 acres, 1280 yds. 8 ft. &3.4 " 

82 acres, 507 yds. 5 ft. 91.27 " 

1 sq. mile, = 1 mile, 16 acres, 4541 yds. ft. 10. 

The intermediate (alternate) denominations of this table are not 
perfect squares ; hence it was thought more correct to assign terms 
to them indicative of their superficial character without the use of 
the prefix " square." We observe here one advantage that would 
result from the radix of numeration being a perfect square. The 
square root of 8, is 2.8284271^^4 ; or VL^O,=C.BPOLLBLFG ; hence 
this value would represent in any given units, the side of a square, 
equal to LO (8) of the square units. Thus the side of a square 
" sheet " would be C Modules, G inches, P nails, lines, and L. 
point. The side of a square " plat " would be C rods, G Modules, 
P inches, nails, L. line, and L. p)oint. The side of a square " acre " 


would be C perches, G rods, P 3Iodules, incJies, L nail, L Une^ and 
B 2)oints. And the side of a square "district" Avould be C fur- 
longs, B jjerclies, P rods, 3Iodules, L wc//, L 7?flt7, B lines, and L 
point. A very simple parallelogram is however afforded us, which 
gives with precision the dimensions of these respective areas. 
Thus a " district," as a land measure, is a rectangular space of 
ground, measuring two furlongs in one direction, and four furlongs 
in the other ; an " acre " a similar space of ground, measuring two 
perches in one direction, bj four perches in the other ; a " [lat," 
a space measuring two rods in one direction, by four rods in the 
other ; and a " sheet " is in like manner a surface of two Modules 
by four Modules. This table presents, therefore, the sim[)lest 
ratios of superficial measure which could be devised ; and would 
be found admirably adapted to every purpose of mensuration. For 
smaller surfaces, it is probable that the following supplementary 
table would prove a useful resort : 

4 square nails make 1 square digit ^ 0.239S58 ins. 

= 0.95W33 " 

= 3.837735 " 

= 15.350041 " 

= C1.4037C0 " 

= 1 ft. 101.015 " 

= C ft. 118.100 " 

= 3 yds. Oft. 41.841 « 

= 12 yds. 1 ft. 23.304 " 

For measuring volume, we would naturally employ simply the 
cubes of the preceding denominations ; while the contents of such 
cubic meters respectively, of distilled water at it] ma.ximum den- 
sity, would as obviously furnish the denominations of weight. 
Throughout these derivative tables, we propose to adopt the Module 
as the universal standard. In this respect we perceive another 
great superiority in our linear unit, over that of the French sys- 
tem. From the inconvenient size of the Metre, it has been made 
practically a standard only o? lengths. The Are, (the unit of 
surface,) is derived, not directly from the Metre, but from the 
Decametre ; the Litre (the unit of capacity) is derived from the 










































cube of the Decimetre ; and lustlj, the Gramme (the unit of 
■weight) is Jerivcd from the cube of the Centimetre. The con- 
trasted simplicity of our project needs no comment. 

Table of Volumes. 

LO (8) cubic nails 
L0(8)cub. digits 
LO (8) cub. joints 
LO (8) cub. inches 
LO (8) cub. hands 
LO (8) cub. spans 
LO (8) cub. Modules 
LO (S) cub. ells 
LO (8) cub. fathoms 

1 cubic nail 
make 1 cub. digit 
" 1 cub. joint 
" 1 cub. inch 
" 1 cub. hand ♦ 
" 1 cub. span 
" 1 cub. Module 
" Icub. eU 
" 1 cub. fathom 
" 1 cub. rod 





CO. 14537 






cubic inch, 

cub. in. 

cub. in. 

cub. ins. 

cub. ins. 

cub. ins. 

cub. feet, 

cub. feet, 

cub. feet, 

cub. feet. 

This simple scale of volumes or bulks, derived directly from our 
smaller linear table, gives a good illustration of the great beauty 
and convenience flowing out of the employment of a radix of 
numeration \\hich is a perfect cube. Each of the cubic measures 
of the above table has for the dimensions of its side 2 of the 
linear values above it. 

Table of Derivitive Measures. 

The cubic nail 
The cubic digit 
The cubic joint 
The cubic inch 
The cubic hand 
The cubic span 
The cubic Module 
The cubic ell 
The cubic fathom 
The cubic rod 

gives the morsel measure, and the grain we: 

" ligule " 

" cup " 

" gill " 

" innt " 

" gallon " 

" Modius " 

" hut " 

" cord " 

" vat " 

This table furnishes 


" scrap 


" dram 


" ounce 


' pound 


' stone 




' load 


' ton 


' heel 


us with a complete system. It needs but a 
simple calculation to e.xhibit our weights and measures in full. 



Our measures of capacity, with their respective values are as fol- 

Tahle of Capacity Measure. 

1 minim 


.488 min 

LO (8) minims 

make 1 morsel 


3.005 " 

LO (8) morsels 

" 1 ligulc 


31.244 " 

LO (8) ligules 

" 1 cup 


4drs. 0.955 " 

LO (8) cups 

" 1 gill 


4 oz. 1 dr. 19.04 " 

LO (8) gills 

" 1 pint 



1 oz. 2 drs. 37. " 

LO (8) pints 

" 1 gallon 



2 galls 


10 oz. 4 drs. 50. " 

LO (8) gallons 

" 1 MODIUS, 

or bushel. 


10 galls. 


4 oz. 7 drs. 35. • " 


" 1 butt 


133 galls. 


7 oz. 4 drs. 44. " 

LO (8) butts 

" 1 cord, 


10G6 galls 


12 oz. 5 drs. 50. " 

LO (8) cords 

" 1 vat, 


8531 galls 


5 oz. 7 drs. 28. " 

Our language is unfortunately but very poorly supplied with 
terms expressive of capacity ; and as the existing names for the 
smaller liquid measures used by the apothecary (*' fluid-drachm," 
and " fluid ounce,") are exceedingly objectionable, from their ref- 
erence to the incongruous standard of weight, — we are compelled 
to reject them, although we have no appropriate denominations to 
substitute. The* word " morsel " is perhaps sufficiently indetermi- 
nate to answer the purpose ; and the Roman lignla, a small meas- 
ure of about a spoonful, supplies a convenient term, having the 
same recommendation. The " cup," which is equally indefinite, 
represents about a half-ounce. The Moclius of the Romans was 
about the quarter of a bushel : the term has been selected as a 
suitable one for indicating a standard measure, and also as sug- 
gesting its dimension, as the cube of the Module. The circum- 
stance that it is here applied to a much larger volume than it was 
originally, is comparatively unimportant. The " cord " may very 
well be used in an extended application, — in the absence of anj^ 
more suitable term that can readily be suggested. It expresses 
here a volume about one-tenth greater than the cord used as a 
wood measure. 

As referred to our common table of " dry measure," as it is 
called, the new " pint " is equal to 1.79 pints : the new " gallon " 
is equal to 7 quarts and one-third of a pint ; — or about one-twelfth 


less than a peck: the new"Modius" — or " bushel," contains 
3849.3 cubic inches ; and is therefore equal to one bushel, 3 pecks, 
1 quart, and one-half a pint, — or to very nearly If bushels, — 
the U. S. bushel containing 2150.4 cubic inches: the new '- butt" 
is equal to 14 bushels, 1 peck, 2 quarts, and half a pint, (being 
about one-fourth more than the English butt of 2 hogslieads ;) and 
the new " cord " is equal to 114 bushels, 2 pecks and 2 quarts. 

In the French measures, our " pint " is very nearly e(|ual to the 
litre, — being .9855 of a litre; our "gallon" := 7.884 litres; 
and our "Modius " = 63 litres. 

It may not be out of place to mention here, (as exhibiting an 
interesting and very early anticipation of our octonary scale of 
measures, in England,) that by the act of 51st. Henry III, — 
(1266) it was declared that " 8 pounds [of wheat] do make the 
gallon of wine, and 8 gallons of wine do make a London bushel, 
and 8 London bushels do make the quarter." 

Our proposed system of weights forms but a corollary from the 
preceding table of capacity measures ; — a Modius of pure water 
forming the standard unit, — which we therefore call our Weiglit 
or Pondus. By the best recent determinations, one cubic inch of 
distilled water at maximum density, (or 39^ degrees, Fahrenheit,) 
weighs 252.8 grains Troy.'^ The Modius or cubic Module would 
therefore weigh 973101.697 grains; or 139 pounds avoirdupois, 
and 101.7 grains. This Avill give us the following table : 
Table of Weights. 

1 mite = 0.404 grs. 

LO (S) mites make 1 grain = 3.712 " 

LO (8) grains " 1 scrap, or scruple, = 29.096 " 

LO (8) scraps " 1 dram = (avoirdupois) ^ oz. 18.824 ♦' 

LO (8) drams " 1 ounce = 4 oz. 150.595 " 

LO (8) ounces " 1 libra, or pound, = 2 lbs. 2 oz. 329.70 " 

LO (S) libras " 1 stone = 17 lbs. oz. 1.3.08 " 

LO (8) stones " 1 PoxDUS,orTreigIit, = 139 lbs. 104.7 " 

LO (8) POXDCSES " 1 load = 1112 lbs. 1 oz. 4O0. " 

LO (8) loads " 1 ton = 8896 lbs. 15 oz. 138. " 

LO (8) tons " 1 keel = 71175 lbs. 10 oz. 220. " 

* This is a trifle more than the vahie adopted by Mr. Hassler, for the U. S. standards; 
his experiments giving 252.745 grains to the cubic inch. 


While the "Pondus" is the standard of determination, the 
pound, as the unit of ^Yeight in most comtnon use, would be the 
secondary or derivative standard. Since Under " pounds " make 
the " Weight," this corresponds to our present hundred weight. 
To prevent any confounding of the " Pondus " and its dciivalive 
" pound," we should prefer the restoration of the old word " libra.^^ 
The " load " is not quite half a ton : and the new " ton " is very 
nearly 4 tons. 

The " keel " is one and a half times larger than the English 
keel (a weight used only for coal,) which is equal to 21 tons, 4 
cwt. ; and of which twenty make a " ship-load." Or the Engl'.sh 
keel is two thirds of our "keel" as above given. 

Estimated by the French weight?, our " scrap" = 1.924 
grammes; our " dram " = 1.5393 6?emr/'ram?7?i?.s; our " ounce = 
1.2314 lieciogrammes ; and our "libra" or pound ^.98514 

It would probably be found convenient to distribute the more 
popular or frequently used weights (those from the " scrap " or 
" scruple," to the " libra,") upon the binary scale : but as the di- 
visions of halves and quarters practically accomplish this, it seems 
hardly necessary to suggest a series of intermediate denominations. 

An entire remodelling of our coinage would of course be neces- 
sary under our octonary system. That such a remodelling is 
really very much needed, — notwithstanding the vaunted excel- 
lence of our currency, and its real superiority to that of almost 
every other nation, — may, we think, be very clearly shown. The 
universal prevalence of binary divisions rendered necessary by the 
wants of trade in all its departments, and the signal inability of 
the established system of coinage to meet such want, has already 
been alluded to in an early part of this Pteport. As specie is 
merely the representative of value, the proportions of it required 
in exchange for commodities, must of course be determined by the 
necessary or convenient divisions of the commodity, and not by the 
size of the pieces which make the money. If the two are incom- 
mensurable, a sacrifice is demanded. Of the smaller articles 
usually sold in packages, a dozen, forms the most common measure ; 
but we arc aware of no single article being usually put up by tens 


in correspondence with the coins uhich are to purchase them. 
Even articles of furniture, such as chairs, plates, cutlery, &,c., are 
generally sold by the dozen, — but never by the decade. 

In the subdivision of articles, either by weight or measure, the 
universal requirement is that of halves and quarters ; — never that 
of fifihs or tenths. Hence it results of necessity, that prices 
must have the same bi-sections; without any reference to the ar- 
bitrary and oppressive though impotent exactions of a decimal re- 
gency. If we select any familiar article sold by the druggist, — 
for example, bicarbonate of soda or tapioca, worth a quarter of 
a dollar a pound, — it u plain that in the present state C'f our coin- 
age, it is impossible for a purchaser to pay for half a pound. Bat 
the half pound must be had, and so it must be paid for either by 
12 cents or by 13. The continued bi-sections of our dollar, ac- 
tually required in the business of the shop in almost every branch 
of trade, give us 12^ cents for the eighths, 6^ cents for the six- 
teenths, and 3^ cents for the thirty-seconds. As none of these 
fractions are in use, they are necessarily saciificed on the one side 
or tlie other, — and by no means in a way to equalizo the exaction ; 
for it is a settled principle of finance A\iih some establishments — 
both large and small, never to lose the half-cent; nay, even to se- 
cure the over-charge of three-quarters of a cent, rather than sur- 
render the quarter. So that by the popular arithmetic of trade 
as taught by those who seem to be most '' knowing," we learn that 
the subtraction of six from twenty-five, leaves eighteen as a re- 

The gradual withdrawal of the Spanish and Mexican eighths and 
sixteenths of our dollar from circulation, has been productive of 
much inconvenience ; * and has of course done nothing towards 

* Jlr. Adams, writing under a different state of things, when half cents were com- 
mon, and Spanish " fips " and " levies " abundant, remarks: " These eighths and six- 
teenths form a very considerable proportion of our metallic currencj' : and although 
the eighth dividing the cent only into halves, adapts itself without inconvenience to 
the system, the fraction of the sixteenth is not so tractable; and in its circulation, as 
small change, it passes for six cents, though its value is six and a quarter, and there is 
a loss by its circulation of four per cent, between the buyer and the seller. For all 
the transactions of retail trade, the eighth and sixteenth of a dollar are among the most 
useful and convenient of our coins; and although we have never coined them ourselves, 
we should have felt the want of them, if they had not been supplied to us from the 
coinage of Spain." {Rqjortto Congress on Wtights and Measures. ) 



effecting the substitution of our native dimes and half-dimes, as 
had been vainly imagined by some. Our [current prices seem to 
now embrace ahuost every figure except the decimals ; 3 cts., 6 
cts., 9 cts., 12 cts., 13 cts., 18 cts. and 19 cts, are the common 
rates below the quarter of a dollar ; and above it we have 31, 37, 
38, 44 (sometimes shaved down to 43,) 56, 62, 63, 69, 75, 81, 
87, 88, and 94 cents ; but never the 30 cts., 40 cts., 60 cts., 80 
cts., or 90 cts., decreed for us by our legislators. In view of these 
incongruous conditions, it cannot require argument to recommend 
the simple Money Table we here propose. 




Dollar value. 

Proposed value. 

1 penny 


.OlA cts. 

.OlJ cts. 

LO (S) pennies make 1 groat or bit 


.121 cts. 

.15 cts. 

LO (8) groats "■ 1 doUar 




LO (8) doUars " 1 real 




LO (S) reals " 1 eagle 




( Under " pennies " make the " dollar " ; under " dollars " 
make the " eagle.") The middle column of the table represents 
the respective value of each denomination on the assumption of the 
present dollar as the standard. Our scheme contemplates, how- 
ever, a much more radical improvement than this ; great as this 
alone, Avould undoubtedly be. The broom of reform must sweep 
clean ; and we must not stop so long as there appears the possibil- 
ity of a farther improvement. The trouble and inconvenience of 
a transition is no greater to a perfect system than it would be to an 
imperfect one. 

Accordingly we would have in the first place, the standard of 
purity elevated, and made permanent; and have it expressed in 
octonary terms. We would have the mint standard fixed at 22^ 
carats fine, to 1\ carat alloy, both for gold and silver : — that is, 
II of pure gold, or of pure silver, to -^j. of base metal, — or in our 
octonary values, — Kitij fo (BF) parts pure, to fo (F) parts alloy, 


in under (LOO) parts of coined metal. This standard we would have 
made invariable, — placed if possible under the protection of the 
constitution, — to be changed or debased on no pretence. 

In the next place, we would make gold the permanent standard 
of value ; and would make its coins exact weights, and measuring 
exact lengths ; — these also of course to be permanent and invari- 
able. The silver coins would fluctuate slightly in value, according 
to the current rate of the metal as compared with gold. To pre- 
serve their denomiuational values, the weights of the coins might 
be adjusted every octade, or eight years: — the diameters of the 
coins, however, not to be altered, unless the comparative values of 
the two metals should change considerably : — the ordinary adjust- 
ment of weight being eflfectcd by modifying the thickness merely 
of the coins. Our highest coin — the "eagle" (new style) we 
would make to weigh exactly 8 " drams," or 1 " ounce," (new 
style ;) and its diameter exactly 8 " nails," or 1 " inch," (new style.) 
— as we find this would give a coin of nearly the same proportions 
(or relation of thickness to diameter) as our present eagle. Of the 
8 " drams," one half a dram or 4 " scraps " would be (as before 
indicated) alloy; the remaining 1\ drams being pure gold. Such 
a coin we find by calculation would be worth ^76.73y cts. Hence 
is derived the second series of values, found in the last column of 
the above table. 

To preserve the same proportions of diameter to thickness in all 
the gold coins, our octonary scale gives us a very simple ratio ; for 
as the diameters of the coins would be as the cube roots of their 
bulks or weights, — it results that a gold coin eight times as heavy 
as the eagle should have exactly twice its diameter ; or on the 
other har.d, that one an eighth of its weight should have exactly 
one half its diameter. The " real " is such a coin, and would there- 
fore be exactly 4 " nails" in diameter, if its thickness were also 
one half that of the " eagle." Here we perceive once more the 
beauty and convenience of having the radix of numeration, a per- 
fect cube ; as is our untij (L.0). One very great advantage of 
the system here proposed, is that it would supply the people 
with a scale of highly useful practical weights, and with a constant 


reference to original or national standards. Another benefit, no 
less striking, is that it would give them on the other hand, the 
most convenient means of determining the genuineness of the cur- 
rency, and thus provide an increased security from the impositions 
of the counterfeiter. 

Tlie silver coins should obviously be on a diiForent scale of size ; 
so that no two coins should have the same diameter. A very suit- 
able size for the " dollar " would be G " nails,'* and of course in like 
manner the " groat " would be 3 " nails." In our present coinage 
silver is just IG times heavier than gold, the alloys being the same 
and the values the same. This would make our new '• dollar " 
weigh 2 " drams " (new style.) But as this weight could not be 
permanently maintained, (the barometric scale of silver being, as 
before remarked, liable to fluctuations,) we shall mark it with a 
" more or less." 

On an octonary scale, all the subordinate coins required for rep- 
resenting all possible values, would be merely halves and quarters. 
Here, again, we perceive another beauty in our system, that it 
gives the maximum range of expression, with the minimum number 
of pieces. As we have five different coins in our table, a half and 
quarter to each would give us fifteen pieces, of which G would be 
in gold, G vrould be in si ver, and 3 would be in copper. The " dol- 
lar " should be coined only in silver. We here have a distribiation 
of moneys on a purely binary scale, (that scale which has been 
found to be of all others the most beautiful, and the most convenient) 
and running through a range of value considerably greater than 
is to be found in any nation — a range of binary progression per- 
fect and unbroken, from the farthing to the sixteen pounds sterling. 
A more simple arrangement, or one more suited to the popular 
necessities, and more easy of popular comprehension and acquisi- 
tion, cannot be devised, AVith these preliminary conditions and 
determinations, we are prepared to give the following table of our 
proposed coinage : 



Table of Coins. 







2 nails, 2 lines 

y of a cent 



2 nails, G lines 

^ of a cent 



3 nails, 4 lines 

.015 cts. 


1 nail, 7 lines 

(4 grains, ±) 

.033 cts. 


2 nails, 3 lines 

(1 scrap, ±) 

.07,1 c> 



3 nails 

(2 scraps, ±) 

.15 " 


3 nails, G lines 

(4 scraps, ±) 

•20|§ " 


4 nails, G lines 

(1 dram, ±) 

.5919 « 


G nails 

(2 drams, ±) 

$1.19A « 


2 nails, 4 lines 

2 scraps 



3 nails, 2 lines 

4 scraps 




4 nails 

1 dram 




5 nails 

2 drams 



G nails, 4 lines 

4 drams 



8 nails 

1 ounce 


Our new " penny " is very nearly equal to the English penny; 
having gf of its value ; — that is, our new " dollar" is just equal 
to G3 English pennies, instead of the G4 pennies of our table. 
The French'value of our " penny " is 10^^^ centimes. Our new 
" groat" is about double the English groat, being 7|t7. or 81| cen- 
times, French. Our new "dollar" is equal to 5s. ^d. English; 
or 6 fiancs, 50 centimes, French. Our new "real" is equal to 
2<£ 2s. English; or 52 francs (2 napoleons, 12 francs,) French. 
And our new "Eagle" is equal to 10^ 16s. English; or 416 
francs ('20 napoleons, 16 francs,) French. 

We shall here present the monetary system suggested by Islx. 
Adams, in his able Report on Weights and Measures, to which we 
have been so much indebted, in order that the great superiority of 
the plan above detailed wherein it differs from that of Mr. Adams 
may be made app::rent, and that the weight and authority of his 
name may be adduced wherein the projects agree. 

" If it were the duty of this Report to present a system of 


weights, measures, and coins, all referable to a single standard, 
combining with iS", as far as possible, the decimal arithmetic, and of 
^vhich uniformity should be the pervading principle, -without regard 
to cxistin<T usages, it would propose a silver coin of nine parts pure 
and one of alloy : of thickness equal to one-tenth part of its diam- 
eter • the diameter to be one-tenth part of a foot, and the foot one 
fourth part of the French metre. This dollar should be the unit 
of weights, as well as of coins and of accounts ; and all its divisions 
and multiples should be decimal. The unit of measures of capacity 
should be a vessel containing the weight of ten dollars, of distilled 
water, at the temperature often degrees of the centigrade thermo- 
meter ; and the cubical dimensions of this vessel should be ascer- 
tained by the weight of its contents ; the decimal arithmetic should 
apply to its weight, and convenient vulgar fractions to its cubical 
measure. This system once established, the standard weight and 
purity of the coin should be made an article of the constitution, 
and declared unalterable by the legislature. The advantage of 
such a system would be to embrace and establish a principle of 
uniformity with reference to time which the French metrology does 
not possess. The weight would be a perpetual guard upon the 
purity and value of the coin. No second weight \YOuld be neces- 
sary or desirable. The coin and the weight would be mutual 
standards for each other ; accessible at all times to every indivi- 
dual. Should the effect of such a system only be, as its tendency 
certainly would be, to deprive the legislative authority of the power 
to debase the coins, it would cut up by the roots one of the most 
pernicious practices that ever afflicted man in civil society. By 
its connection of the linear standard with the French metre, it 
would possess all the advantages of having that for a unit of its 
measures of length, and a link of the most useful uniformity with 
the whole French metrology." 

When we consider the decided testimony Mr. Adams has borne 
against the fitness and utility of a decimal metrology, and the clear 
manner in which he has himself presented its disadvantages, we 
must regard the scheme he has here suggested, rather as a reluc- 
tant assent to a choice of evils, than as the matured and satisfac- 
tory determination of his deliberate judgment. In our opinion, a 


reference to the French metre, as a standard, -would be in almost 
every respect ohjeciionable, unless ^ye accepted with it the entire 
metrical system. The fourth part of the metre, or the ten-inch 
rule, we regard as a much less convenient popular measure, than 
would be its half, or the twentj'-inch rule : as we have already ex- 
pressed our conviction that the cubit of 18 inches comes probably 
nearer the avcrai^e of a maximum utility, than any other of the 
scales which have hitherto been in common use. Nor do we 
believe that the system itself, in its present form possesses the 
elements of a general ascendency, or even of a permanent estab- 
lishment. When in a succeeding generation, the admiration 
naturally excited by a new and beautiful mechanism shall have 
subsided to a more impartial and experienced estimate of its de- 
fects, as well as of its admirable features, it will, doubtless, through 
the inevitable laws cf human nature, undergo many and very im- 
portant modifications, unless indeed some pjhoenix from its ashes 
shall arise and be judged worthy to replace it. 

But there is an objection even stronger than any we have yet 
noticed, to accepting the metre, either directly or indirectly, as our 
national standard of length ; and that is the want of absolute pre- 
cision in the rule itself. It has been shown by the investigations 
of able mathematicians, that in consequence of a slight oversight in 
an early stage of the tedious and complicated reductions required, 
(unfortunately not detected until after the complete organization 
and establishment of the national standards of weight and measure,) 
the metre is not an exact expression of its theoretical value.* The 

* " It appears that through inadvertence, or the misapprehension of a formula, the 
distance between the parallels of Montjouy and Jlola (the station on Formentern) was 
computed v/ithout applying the proper correction for the convergence of meridians. 
The distance originally given by the commissioners was 153605.77 toises ; but the dis- 
tance when the computation is correctly made is 153673.61 loises. {Bessel's Astronomi- 
sche Naclirichten, No. 438,^ the difference being 67.84 toises, [about 434 feet.] In conse- 
quence of this correction, and of the introduction of some other arcs since measured, 
into the data for determining the figure of the earth, the length of the quadrant of the 
meridian expressed in terms of the legal metre, according to the best determination 
■which can at present be made, of the dimensions of the earth, is 10,000855.76 metres; 
in other words the legal vietre would require to be lengthened by about the .00000856 
part of itself in order to agree with the ideal metre, a ten millionth part of the quadrant 
of the elliptic meridian." (Penny Cyclopedia, vol. 25, page 216,— article, " Trigonomet- 
rical Suifey.") 


distance from the polo to the equator on a meridian line, was com- 
puted to be 5,130740 toi^es, (the toise being 6 ^^j feet, or more 
cxactlv 6.394219 feet,) and the length of the metre was definitely 
declared by the National Assembly, in 1799, to be 443.29596 lines 
of the toise dii Perou. " Later and more extensive measurements," 
savs Mr. Guyot, " i/i various parts of the globe, ho\Yever, seem to 
indicate that this quantity is somewhat too small. The latest and 
most exact results we now possess, combined and computed by 
B.'ssel, would make the quarter of the meridian 10,000856 metres, 
and the metre = 443.29979 Paris lines: Schmidt's computation 
would made it 443.29977 lines, and both numbers are confirmed 
by Airy's results." {Talks, J-c, by A. Crwjot, Smithsonian 
Publication.') The metro is, therefore, too short by .00383 of a 
line ; a deficiency which cannot be regarded as trivial. An error 
of :ju-5o(J of an inch in 40, though wholly inappreciable to the dry- 
goods dealer, is to the astronomer an amount of serious import ; 
and even to the refinements of our mechanical art, is a discrepancy 
of more than three times the quantity which can be distinctly meas- 
ured.* This unfortunate and vital defect in the French metre 
nullifies almost entirely its value as a natural standard ; and defeats 
that principal object of its establishment, — the facility of its per- 
fect restoration in all future time, should the existing material 
standards be destroyed. 

In the new standard of length, proposed and developed in this 
Report, we believe that every excellence of the French standard 
has been carefully preserved, and all its imperfections as success- 
fully avoided. Starting fro-H the same general principles by which 
that was obtained, we have made no departure from the details of 
its derivation, not required by the plainest and soundest deduc- 
tions of experience, philosophy and common sense. Docs the 
French method propose an aggravated yard as a convenient unit, 

* We learn from the department of" Weights and Measure?," at Washington, under 
the Coast Survey Bureau of the United States, that the hundred-thousandth of an 
inch is a measure of accuracy easily recogniz3d by the delicate instruments introduced 
by the ingenious mechanical artist, Jlr. Joseph Saxton, who is in charge of this 
department; and that even this limitation is imposed solely by the uncertainties of the 
temperature correction. 


■we show the superiority of the cubit. Does it (on good grounds 
at the time) select an elliptical meridian, as its origin of measure, 
■we show still better grounds for preferring the equatorial circle. 
Does it look (almost necessarily) to the quadrant as a natural 
unit, we show the greater propriety of the sextant. Does it rest on 
a thoroughly decimal basis, we show the most cogent reasons for 
adopting an octonary distribution. Does it find a fitting divisor 
only in the seventh power of its decimal radix, — we accidentally 
find it in a great arithmetical unit — the eighth power of the oc- 
tade. Does it finally give as its finished product, an imperfect 
metre ^ we offer for acceptance a perfect 3Iodule. 

The system of metrology derived from this nevf standard, has in 
it nothing that is arbitrarily assumed. Each part of it is dependent 
upon every other, and each part flows from each, by a logical and 
systematic necessity. The whole is thus a perfect unit, simple 
anl complete, — comprehending every relation of dimension and 
of weight, and adequate to every purpose of precision, the 
minutest as well as the grandest. 

There remain one or two other applications of the octonary 
measure, however, which though incidental, are still of sufficient 
importance to merit a special notice. If we substitute for the sex- 
agenary divisions of the circle, the scale of unders, a very obvious 
and pressing analogy would require the same substitution in the 
smaller divisions of time. The hour itself, — the twenty-fourth 
part of the day, is too convenient a unit to be lightly changed. 
The attempt made by the French metrology to decimalize it, was 
only a notable failure.* Nor is there any special reason for dis- 
turbing it here, since by the octonary notation, there are just tlietij 
(60) hours to the day. The minutes and seconds may, however, 
be changed without much inconvenience, and with manifest advan- 
tage. The substitution of the number 64 (LOO) for 60, would 
make the minute iV shorter than it now is ; and would give us 

* " The solar day was divided into ten hours, each of 100 minutes, and each minute 

of 100 seconds The division of the daj- into a hundred thousand parts, was the 

first part of the sj'stem that was abandoned. It had been decreed as compulsory with 
the new nomenclature of the calendar on the 24th of November, 1793, ('4 Frimaire 2,) but 
this regulation was indefinitely suspended by the law of 7th April, 1795, flS Germinal 
Z.y — (Adams's Report. ) 




4096 (L.,000) seconds to the hour, instead of the present number, 
8600. This would, of course, reduce the length of the seconds' 
pendulum correspondingly. Assuming the length of the present 
seconds' pendulum to be 39.1393 incles, we have the proportion, 
(4096) 2; (3600) :: 39.1393: 30.23417. Therefore the length 
of the new seconds' pendulum, (or the octonary pendulum, as we 
mav may call it) is 30.23417 inches, or not quite 2 modules. 
This modification of the second, would give us the following table of 
time measure : 

Time Table. 

1 second (n. s.) 


§50 of a sec : 

LOO (64) seconds 

make 1 minute (n. s.) 


^ of amin: or 50.25 s. 

LOO (64) minutes 

" 1 hour 


2 " arcs " of rotation 

BO (24) hours 

" 1 mean sohir day 


1 rotation. 

6B (30) days + 

" 1 month ' 


1 lunar revolution -|-. 

LP (12) months 

" 1 year 


1 solar revolution. 

LO (8) years 

" 1 octade 


8 years. 

LO (8) octades 

" 1 undery 


04 (LOO) years. 

The value of the new style second, decimally expressed, is 
0.86328125 sec. As there would be unsen (L,0000) seconds in 
one hour, and thety (GO) hours in one day, there would of course 
be thety-sen (60,0000) seconds (98,304) in one day. The 365 
days, 5 hours, 48 min. and 48 see. which form the solar year,* 
would be in the new style PPP days, P hours, GF min. and 6.6 sec. 
The new octonary " century " must have a name, let us call it 
" undery ; " then instead of the " 18 centuries " of the Christian 
era, we must say the " thety-pa imdcries.^' 

As the Barometer is graduated by absolute lengths, the only 
change involved in the reading of this instrument, would be the 
simple substitution of the Module divisions, for those of the foot. 
It would be found convenient, however, to read by " nails," rather 
than by larger quantities. Thus 30 inches (the average height 
of the barometer column) is I " Module," B " inches," C "nails," 

* According to Lacaille's tables, 305 days, 5 hours, 48 min. 4D sec. According to 
Bessel in 1830, 365 days, 5 hours, 48 min. 47.8 sec. 


and F " lines ; " which would be much simpler in the form of 
LBC.F " nails," or under Mty-du " nails " and a half. The follow- 
ing table exhibits the barometric range by intervals of 4 " nails " 
(or one inch very nearly) from under (LOO) to duder (COO) 
" nails ; " that is, from the height of one Module (the half of an 
atmosphere) to that of two Modules, (or a whole atmospheric pres- 
sure.) One inch = 4.0S3T " nails ; " F " nails "=0.97948 inch. 

Table of the Barometer Scale. 

coo (duder) " nails " 


31.344 inches 


796.127 millimetres. 

LBP (under Kity-fo) " 





LBO (under Kity) " 





LBP (under sety-fo) " 


28.405 " 



LBO (under sety) " 




09G.0U " 

LPP (under paty-fo) " 


20.446 " 

C71.7.32 " 

LPO (under paty) " 



046.852 " 

LPP (under foty-fo) " 


24.4S7 « 


C21.974 " 

LPO (under foty) " 


23.50S " 


597.095 " 

L6P (under thcty-fo) " 


22.528 " 



LBO (under thety) '< 


21.549 " 


547.337 " 

LCP (under duty-fo) " 





LCO (under duty) " 





LLP (under unty-fo) " 


18.610 " 


472.700 " 

LLO (under unty) " 


17.631 " 


447.821 " 

LOP (under and fo) " 




422.942 " 

LOO (under) " 


15.672 " 


398.063 " 

In the application of the octonary scale to the Thermometer, a 
greater change would be desirable. None of the existing gradua- 
tions of this instrument can be regarded as being at all satisfac- 
tory. The pervading principle of the French metrology, naturally 
produced the Centigrade scale ; ^ but outside of the decimal sys- 

* The Centigrade scale appears really to have originated with Andre Celsius, a 
Swedish astronomer and mathematician who lived during the first half of the eight- 
eenth century, (from 1701 to 1744.) It is hence very frequently designated as the 
" Celsius Thermometer." In addition to the scales of Fahrenheit, Reaumur, and Cel- 
sius, two others have been devised, which have never gone into use; those of De Lisle, 
and of Murray. De Lisle made the boiling point 0°, and counting downward made 


tern, it lias nothing to recommend it. Its degrees are of a less 
convenient size than those of the Fahrenheit scale ; and hence the 
continued use of the latter in America, and in England, notwith- 
standing its awkward and arbitrary character. 

The time appears now to have nearly arrived for a philosophical 
graduation of this most important instrument, from the absolute 
zero, so that its degrees shall accurately represent proportional in- 
crements of heat. Although this point of " no heat " cannot yet 
be determined with any precision, there are several considerations 
which induce the belief that it cannot be lower than 500 degrees 
below the zero of Fahrenheit. The conclusion arrived at by. Clem- 
ent and Desormes, is that the absolute zero is most probably at 
— 2t)tF Cent, orat— 148°,Fahr.'* This would make (448° + 32°) 
480° Fahr. below the freezing point ; and 180° Fahr , being the 
interval between that point and the temperature of boiling water, 
we should have the boiling point by Fahrenheit's graduation, at' 
660° above the absolute zero. The objection which might be 
raised to the use of such large figures to express our ordinary 
temperatures, (as 560°, for the summer heat of 80°) might be 
easily obviated by the natural suggestion of making the melting 
point of ice, a high unit, such as unty-der^ (LOOO) — so that being 
the commencement of a new count, it might thus be popularly ac- 
counted a zero point ; — the unty-der unit being suppressed, or 

the freezing point 150°. Each of these degrees was therefore f of a degree of Fahren- 
heit. Murray selected the freezing point of Mercury, — 39° Fahrenheit, for his zero, 
and made its boiling point (661° Fahr.) to be expressed by 1000°. By this system, the 
point of melting ice would be 101|°, and that of boiling water, 358|-° ; each degree 
being -jq of a degree Fahr. 

* "Clement and Desormes place the absolute zero at — 266°. 6' C. ( — 447°. 9' Fahr.) part- 
ly with reference to a not very probable hypothesis concerning the heat contained in a 
vacuum, partly from the following considerations: Air at 0° [the freezing point of 
water] expands for each degree C. of heat superadded, by jo-f '-^g-o or ■sigV'e •'^"'i con- 
tracts for each degree of heat abstracted, by •26'6".6"' If this law be aj)plicablc at all tem- 
peratures, the limit of diminution of volume, must be found at — 206. G; below this point 
there can be no further contraction of volume, and therefore no further abstraction of 
heat. Or, if 266.6° of heat be imparted to air at 0° C, its volume becomes doubled ; 
according to the above law, the air when its volume is doubled, must contain twice 
the quantity of heat which it contains at O*'; consequently at 0°, it must contain 
266.6*' more heat than at the absolute zero." (Gmelln's Hand-book of Chemistry; 
.translated by Henry Watts, vol. I,]}. 303.) 



always understood. If we accept this figure experimentally, in 
order to ascertain the boiling point of such a scale, we have the 
simple proportion, 480° Fahr, : LOOO. (512) :: 180° Fahr. : GOO. 
(192.) This gives us a very convenient number (theder) for our 
new boiling point, and the following scale results : 

Table of Absolute Thermometer Degrees. 










Boiling point of water. (Bar. 30 ins.) 





Meconinc fuses. Scheererite boils. 





Xitric Ether, Propioue, & 3Ietacetonc, boil. 





Absolute Alcohol, Camphronc& Acctal, boil. 





Water scalds. Wood spirit boils. 





Potassium fuses. Bromine boils. 





Metal painful to the touch. 





Fever heat. Spermaceti fuses. 





Highest (shade) temperature at London. 





3Iean temperature at Havana and Vera Cruz. 





Mean temperature at Rome; and at Mexico. 





Mean temperature atGottiugen & Edinburgh. 



Melting point of ice. 





Oil of turptine freezes. Caoutchoucinc melts. 

BPO ' 




Mean temperature at Melville Island. 



— 25 


Bromine melts. Mean temperature at N. Pole. 




— 20| 

Lowest temperature at St. Petersburg. 

Each degree Absolute = i| of a deg. Fahr. — or i| of a deg. Cent. — or ■,*« of a deg. Reaum. 

We have not thought it necessary to present the graduation of 
this scale by smaller intervals than duty degrees, (C0°) nor to 
extend it above the boiling point, as its rate of progression is suffi- 
ciently obvious. This scale is proposed merely as an illustration 
of the principle of graduation which we think should be adopted ; 
and not, as in the case of the preceding tables, as being a final or 
permanent result. The estimates of different experimenters, are 
unfortunately, as yet, considerably discordant ; and it will probably 


require much more of fine experiment and careful inducdon, before 
a concurrence of considerations shall conspire to give us a reason- 
able confidence in the determination of the absolute zero.* Mean- 
while the scale here suggested might be provisionally adopted with 
advantage, as superior to any of the existing scales, and as prob- 
ably destined to require no very great modification on the attain- 
ment of a more complete knowledge of the subject. 

We think that the melting point of ice should be selected as the 
first great unit or completed period, rather than the boiling point of 
water. First, because it is less dependent on barometric conditions 
than the latter; and secondly, because it lies much nearer our ordi- 
nary temperatures, and it is more convenient to reckon upward 
from a fixed point than it is to estimate downward. Should the 
absolute zero be ascertained to fall considerably below the — 50(1° of 
Fahrenheit, then we would recommend the employment of the next 
higher unit, the unsen (L.,0000) to mark the melting point of ice, 
making the size of the degree to depend (within certain limits,) on 
the relation of these two points ; and allowing the boiling point to 
fall wherever the arithmetical continuation of the scale should 
require ; unless indeed, the adjustment of a degree or so, at the zero, 
{which would be of no practical consequence,) should be found to 
present the accommodation of a simple numerical relation, for the 
easy conversion of one scale into the other. The lim'ting condi- 
tions we would propose to the size of the degree, would be to select 
for the notation of the melting point of ice, that unit (of iin and 

* The estimate of Clement and Desormes (480° F. below freezing point,) is however 
probably near the truth, as it approximates tolerably well to the results derived by 
various other experimenters, from different data. Thus by Eudberg's experiments, 
confirmed by Magnus and Regnault, the absolute zero (of gaseous tension) is placed 
at — 273°.89 Cent., or — 461° Fahr. (493° F. below the melting point of ice.) By J. P. 
,Ioule, the absolute zero is placed at — 459° Fahr., (491° F. below the melting point of ice.) 
[Philosoplnral Transactions of ilit Royal Society, London, for 1852.) This would 
make our boiling point caF° (188), or in other words would make our theder (G00°) four 
degrees above the boiling point. Had the estimate of Clement and Desormes been 32 
degrees lower — that is, had the 480° been below the zero of Fahrenheit's scale, instead 
of its freezing point, it would have made our octonary degrees exactly equal to the 
degrees of that scale, and perhaps for a provisional scale this would be a preferable 
notation, as it would involve no change in the graduation of our common Thermome- 
ter, but would require only a different reading; the melting point of ice being LOOO 
instead of 32, and the boiling point CGF (180) instead of 212. 


cipher places.') which would give the nearest approach to the pres- 
ent Fahrenheit degree. 

The Committee has thus endeavored to unfold with as much con- 
ciseness as was compatible with a clear presentation of the subject, 
what it regards as the best possible method of fulfilling all the 
varied and diffcult conditions required in an acceptable sj'Stem of 
weights and measures, as well as the most effectual means of pro- 
moting that great desideratum of international commerce, an ulti- 
mate uniformity of standards among the nations of the earth. The 
serious and radical defects of our existing systems have been briefly 
noticed, and from the experience thus acquired the essential and 
practical wants of the community have been incidentally pointed 
out. As the result of this investigation, we can propose no solu- 
tion of the problem excepting that we have here displayed ; nor 
are we able to discover the counterbalance of any disadvantages 
which would follow the adoption of this plan, save that of the dis- 
turbance and confusion necessarily consequent upon every change, 
and which must form the price of every valuable reform. 

If it be urged that the introduction of still another system of 
weights and measures, and one having no common unit with either 
the French, or the English system, would be only adding to the 
existing diversity of standards, instead of tending to that great 
scheme of uniformity so cherished by the philanthropist, we have 
to rejily, that, if the system proposed be really of all others the best 
adapted to the needs, not only of one, but of all nations, then is the 
prospect of a general uniformity most reasonably to be anticipated 
from its introduction. If neither the metrology of England, (which 
is also ours,) nor yet that of France, is ever likely to obtain a uni- 
versal conquest, some better scheme alone remains to give us a hope 
of ultimate success. Such a scheme we think is here presented. 
Founded upon the simplest and yet most comprehensive basis, it 
contains nothing that could be regarded as in any respect peculiar 
to one locality or latitude, or more suitable for one nation than for 
any other. Encumbered by no abstruse nomenclature, it aims at 
no superfluous verbal uniformity, but leaves each people to employ 
such designations of its units, as may appear to each most easy and 


Mr. Adams, after his unequalled analysis of the English syst-em 
of measures, in view of its close agreement with our own, discoun- 
tenances all attempts at a premature innovation. Without approv- 
ing in his report of the introduction of the French system, he thinks 
it would afford the best prospect of securing " uniformity ; " and 
remarks, "were it even possible to construct another system on 
different principles, but embracing in equal degree all the great 
elements of uniformity, it would still be a system of diversity with 
regard to France, and all the followers of her system. And as 
she could not be expected to abandon that which she has estab- 
lished at so much expense, and with so much difficulty, for another 
possessing, if equal, no greater advantages, there would still be two 
rival systems with more desperate chances for the triumph of uni- 

We must avow our belief, on the contrary, that provided a new 
system could be framed, which had demonstrably " greater advan- 
tages " than her own, France would be among the first of nations 
to hail its advent and to welcome its adoption. A nation to. which 
belongs the honor and the glory of having been the first to conceive 
a great project of international metrology, the first to invite the 
fraternal co-operation of other powers, and the first to work out with 
unwearied science, skill and labor, a comprehensive organization of 
that ideal metrology — unrivalled in its philosophy and symmetry 
— cannot be the last to appreciate any real improvement of that 
economy ; or to submit to any sacrifice which should promote the 
reahzation of such improvement. Nor could the entire abandon- 
ment of that which has cost so much, be accounted too great a sac- 
rifice, if only through it could be accomplished that magnanimous 
design to which it owed its origin. It would have to be looked upon 
as a costly but invaluable experiment — as a great and necessary 
progression to an end, by which alone was rendered possible any 
higher attainment. The system here elaborated is but a develo^v 
ment of that, 

A project which contemplates the entire subversion of the exist- 
ing arithmetic, with its immense stores of fact and formula, is cer- 
tainly a most startling proposal ; and is one which will doubtless 


he regarded by the majority of persons as a scheme chimerical and 
impossible. We are impressed with a calm conviction that it does 
not even offer any real difficulty. The enormous labor of re-con- 
struction involved, we seek not to deny or to underrate. But this 
is a trouble which must always be commensurate Avith the greatness 
of the reformation. This necessity would, however, most probably 
stimulate to the development and perfection of that most useful 
ally, the calculating machine. Rendered simpler in its construc- 
tion by the very system which should require its services, and 
made popular and general by the new demand, it seems not impro- 
bable that a single century of the octonary empire would place the 
world on a higher platform than it would even reach without it. 
Such has been the usual history of difficulty and of success. We 
believe that a national government has but to will it, to ensure its 
establishment ; and after the first impediments of custom were 
surmounted, we nothing doubt, that the facility and manifold con- 
veniences of the new regime would form its most powerful support, 
and its surest recommendation to popular favor. 

If the octonary system have the germ of vitality, which we have 
here imagined, its adoption by any one of the great nations of Chris- 
tendom would as surely pave the way to its universal prevalence, 
as did the introduction of the Hindoo notation, and of the Grego- 
rian calendar. Nor are the obstacles w^hich so long delayed those 
great reforms, either as numerous or as serious at the present day, 
as they were in by-gone centuries. The tone and temper of the 
times, — intellectual, moral and political — differ widely from those 
of our ancestors ; and in our common school system we have a 
moral mechanism for the inoculation of new truth, untried and un- 
known in all past ages.* Whenever the octonary numeration 

* In the interesting Report made to the Secretary' of the Treasury, Dec. 30, 1856^ 
by Prof. Bache, Superintendent of "Weights and Measures, it is well remarked, in rela- 
tion to the facility of introducing a decimal system, that " One generation would nearly 
suffice to effect this change, if, as in Holland, the new weights and measures were intro- 
duced through the schools. The children of the countrj- becoming familiar with them 
in the primary schools, seeing the actual material standards of length, capacity, and 
weight at frequent and stated times in early youth, and retaining that familiarity as 
they passed uito the higher schools, •would be readily prepared for their universal use 
when reaching mature life." 


should be definitely established by political authority, we would 
immediately have all young children instructed for a year or two, 
only in the octonary arithmetic, — as furnishing the easiest and 
most rational introduction to the knowledge of figures. And not 
until after a complete mastery of this arithmetic, should they be 
taught the use of decimals, — still required for a considerable 
period to enable reductions to be made from the old style to the 
new. This would be attended with no more labor than is the addi- 
tional study now of ordinary Algebra ; while in the distinctive 
languages of the two scales would be found a safeguard against 
all danger or difficulty, in confounding the one value with the other. 

The economy of time and labor which the system of octonary 
computation would infuse throughout the myriad commercial de- 
tails daily entering into the life of a busy and enterprising people, 
cannot be estimated, and could not easily be exaggerated. The 
popular wonder would be no smaller under the daily workings of 
this wiser system, that decimals could have prevailed so many cen- 
turies, — than is our wonder now that the demands of trade could 
possibly have been satisfied by the awkward and complex Roman 
scale of numeration. 

The objections naturally brought against any disturbance of the 
existing order of accountancy, (backed on the other hand by the 
indolent and dilatory plea that we and our ancestors from earliest 
time have found it to answer quite " well enough,") are precisely 
those which have uniformly opposed and retarded the introduction 
of every improvement. We are informed by Sir John Bowring, 
in his interesting sketch of the Exchequer system of England, 
that in quite recent times. Lord Granville strongly resisted the 
abolition of the Latin phraseology, and the substitution of the 
Hindoo numerals for the Roman, in the keeping of the public ac- 
counts, on the ground that the continuance of the accustomed sys- 
tem was necessary to preserve the comprehension of prexjeding 
records ! * 

* " It is indeed scarcely credible, that the perplexing and entangled manner of 
keeping accounts by the Roman numerals in the same barbarous style which was prac- 
tised before the Norman Conquest, was maintained at the Exchequer almost down to 
the present day; and the introduction of the English language and the Arabic num- 


The only question upon the subject wo can acknowledge as 
^voI■thJ of discussion, is that which regards the beneficial character 
of the revolution. " Is. or is not, the change proposed, a real im- 
provement ?" If it be, — if it be not only an improvement, but of 
all projected schemes the truest, wisest, best, — then we assert the 
bolder logic — its adoption is onhj a question of time I Preju- 
dice, timidity, or indolence, — insensibility to the interests cf the 
future, or superstitious reverence for the grey-haired follies of 
the past, may each or all oppose their ineffectual resistance ; they 
may indeed postpone for a century or two, the benefit to be en- 
joyed, — they may indeed throw in the scale the added labor of 
accumulated- work to be undone, — but what is " truest, wisest, 
best," shall surely, in the end, secure its empire. 

To the objection urged by some, that the advantages to result 
are too remote, and that even were the new arithmetic now inau- 
gurated, the present generation could not expect to have the full 
and peaceful enjoyment of its alleged conveniences, we would 
reply that such has been the case with every real'y great reform. 
We are in possession now of many priceless blessings, whose first 
and feeble preparations were planned in former, un-enjoying ages. 
Shall wo reap the rich fruits grown from the unselfish providence 
of ancestral culture, and shall posterity be less favored ? Patriot- 
ism and humanity reject the doubt. We believe the octonary 
algorithm to be pregnant with such great and wide-spread bene- 
fits, — benefits to extend throughout all coming time, that we 
should estimate its acquisition cheaply purchased by whole gen- 
erations of transitional confusion. 

The measure we have thus imperfectly advocated in this Report, 
is by no means a new one. It is an incident of the highest in- 
terest and moment in the reign of that distinguished monarch, 

erals was successfully resisted by no less a personage than Lord Granville, on the 
ground that if the barbarous usages of our ancestors were reformed, it would be diffi- 
cult to understand the accounts, and the records of departed time; and hence he argued 
for the necessity of perpetuating a system of complication, confusion, and imperfection, 
not on the common plea of the superior wisdom of our ancestors, but in full acknowl- 
edgment and appreciation of the ignorance of the custom which was originally insti- 
tuted, and which had continued to reign triumphant among the Exchequer records." 
(Bowring's Decimal System, chap. 7, p. 124.) 


Charles XII. of Sweden, that he not only contemplated the intro- 
duction of an octonary arithmetic, but that he commissioned Swe- 
denborg (at that time celebrated for his scientific and mathematical 
attainments,) to draw up the necessary details of the plan for 
establishing this system, — together with an octonary scale of 
"weights, measures, and coins throughout his kingdom.* It appears 
•that the premature death of the king very shortly afterward alone 
prevented the consummation of this most sagacious and philosophic 
enterprise. But for this untoward circumstance, this admirable 
mechanism would have thus been put into practical operation 
nearly a century and a half ago ! Had it proved as successful as 
there is every reason to suppose it would, — who can estimate the 
influence this ingrafting would have had upon the present mathemat- 
ical condition of Europe ? Might we not now have been in the full 
and assured enjoyment of that happier system ? The subject of 
this improved numerical notation had doubtless often occupied the 
minds of mathematicians, long before this time ; but we believe 
that this is the first occasion on which a deliberate and well de- 
signed attempt was ever made to give it a practical existence and 
establishment. As such, it is an event of no trivial importance, 
and must be regarded as ever memorable in the history of arith- 
metical reform. 

In contemplating the practical working of this untried system, 
and forming an estimate of the character of the change required in 
the popular habits of thought, comparison, and judgment, there can 
be no doubt that the octonary scale could be generally introduced 
with far greater facility, and made thoroughly familiar in a much 
shorter time, in its application to the divisions of money, weight, and 
measure, than it could be in its more abstract application to the 
operations of universal numeration. We believe, therefore, that in 
advance of the arithmetical reformation, it would be found highly 
expedient to introduce the simple and convenient system of weights 
and measures here proposed, as the best preparation for the suc- 
cessful introduction of the other. 

Even were the octonary arithmetic, (with all its own intrinsic 

* See note D — appended to this Report. 


excellences) not to be adopted, we still urge that these measures 
would be worthy of an independent establishment. After the vari- 
ety of arithmetical reductions to which we are now accustomed 
under our present incongruous tables, the uniform reduction of a 
single scale, which would alone be required in the new order, 
would give a very great simplification and relief; and would in 
every probability be found upon the whole to entail less inconven- 
ience than that which would remain, with even the perfect deci- 
malization of our various measures. So that even under the dis- 
advantages of a decimal dispensation, we believe it could easily be 
shown that our new system would still, in view of all the circum- 
stances, be the " best possible " one for popular use, and would 
most completely furnish the elements of a perfect uniformity. 

We have presented the results of our most mature deliberation. 
With these suggestive representations, our province terminates. 
As indicated in an early part of this Report, only the authority of 
Government can give validity to such proposals of reform, what- 
ever their theoretical excellence. . For the still more extended and 
desirable improvement of an international uniformity, (the aspira- 
tion and the labor of so many among the world's best intellects,) a 
concert of action among the leading maritime powers, affords the 
only means of realization. Such a conference among nations hav- 
ing so many fraternal ties, seems called for by every principle of 
wise philosophy, of generous humanity, and of an enlightened sense 
of common interest ; and surely cannot be regarded, at this day, 
as a visionary or illusive expectation. 

Forty years have now elapsed since the resolution of Congress 
calling upon the Secretary of Si"ate for information respecting the 
standards of the several States, " and relative to proceedings in 
foreign countries, for establishing uniformity in weights and meas- 
ures ; together with such a plan for fixing the standard of weights 
for the United States, as he might deem most proper for their 
adoption," drew forth the masterly Report of Mr. Adams, from 
which, in recognition of its standard and authoritative character, 
we have so liberally quoted.* 

* The Eesolution of the House of Representatives was passed December 14th, 1819. 
The Eepost (extending to 145 pages,) was submitted February 22d, 1821. So that this 


With a comprehensive view of all the bearings of the subject, 
Mr. Adams looked eagerly forward to the establishment of a 
uniform system of metrology among all enlightened nations. 
" Would it not be strange," he asks, " if, while mankind find it so 
easy to attain uniformity in the use of every engine adapted to 
their mutual destruction, they should find it impracticable to agree 
upon the few and simple, but indispensable instruments of all their 
intercourse of peace and friendship and beneficence ; that they 
should use the same artillery and musketry, and bayonets and 
swords, and lances, for the wholesale trade of human slaughter ; 
and that they should refuse to weigh by the same pound, to meas- 
ure by the same rule, to drink from the same cup, to use, in fine, 
the same materials for ministering to the wants and contributing to 
the enjoj'ments of one another ? " 

And yet, with a rare prudence and moderation, believing the 
time was not then come for any decisive movement, he avoided the 
tempting occasion offered by the language of the resolution of in- 
quiry, to propose some model, scheme ; and urged upon Con- 
gress, with equal earnestness and wisdom, the avoidance of all 
attempts at partial and precocious reformation. " In contemplat- 
ing so great, but so beneficial a change," says he, " as the ultimate 
object of the proposal now submitted to the consideration of Con- 
gress, it is supposed to be most congenial to the end, to attempt no 
present change whatever in our existing weights and measures. 

If there be one conclusion more clear than another, de- 

ducible from all the history of mankind, it is the danger of hasty 

and inconsiderate legislation upon weights and measures 

All trifling and partial attempts of change in our existing system, it 
is hoped, \\\\\ be steadily discountenanced and rejected by Congress ; 
not only as unworthy of the high and solemn importance of the 
subject, but as impracticable to the purpose of uniformity, and as 
inevitably leading to the reverse, to increase*' diversity, to inextri- 
cable confusion." And accordingly as the result of his laborious 
investigations, he submits this simple conclusion : " The plan which 

elaborate and voluminous work, involving a vast amount of research and of reflection, 
■was prepared in the short space of one year and amid the pressing duties and labors of 
his high official position. It forms No. 109 of the House Documents of the Second Ses- 
sion o£the 16th Congress. 


18 thus, in obedience to the injunction of both Houses of Congress, 
submitted to their consideration, consists of two parts, the princi- 
ples of which maj be stated : 1st. To fix the standard, with the 
partial uniformity of which it is susceptible for the present, exclud- 
ing all innovation. 2d. To consult with foreign nation^, for the 
future and ultimate establishment of universal and permanent uni- 
formity." In a preceding part of his Report, he remarks : " A 
single and universal system can be finally established only by a 
general convention, to which the principal nations of the world 
shall be parties, and to which they shall all give their assent. To 
effect this, would seem to be no difficult achievement. It has one 
advantage over every plan of 7«oraZ or j;oZiY«canmprovement, — 
there neither is nor can be any great counteracting interest to 
overcome. The conquest to be obtained is merely over prejudices, 
usages, and perhaps national jealousies. The whole evil to be sub- 
dued is diversity of opinion with regard to the means of attaining 
the same end. To the formation of the French system, the learn- 
ing and the genius of other nations did co-operate with those of 
her native sons. The co-operation of Great Britain was invited ; 
and there is no doubt that of the United States would have been 

accepted, had it been offered But this agreement can be 

obtained only by consultation and concert. It is therefore respect- 
fully proposed as the foundation of proceedings necessary for 
securing ultimately to the United States a system of weights and 
measures which shall be common to all civilized nations, that the 
President of the United States be requested to communicate 
through the ministers of the United, States in France, Spain, and 
Great Britain, with the governments of those nations upon the sub- 
ject of weights and measures, with reference to the principle of 
uniformity as applicable to them." 

Thirty-six years later than the date of these suggestions, Mr. 
Bache, in a report upon the same subject, which may justly be re- 
garded as the natural sequel to the earlier one of Mr. Adams, 
thus renews this great and important project. 

" The first part of Mr. Adams's plan has, as far as legal stand- 
ards are concerned, in a great degree been accomplished ; but the 
second part, that which recommends the consultation with foreign 


nations for the ultimate establishment of universal uniformity, re- 
mains yet to be acted on. The importance of the subject cannot 
but be deeply felt by every one truly interested in the universal 
brotherhood and substantial improvement of the human race. 
France was the first to take an important step in the matter, in the 
projection and final accomplishment of the great work of the meas- 
urement of an arc of the meridian passing through her territory, 
thus wiving an ultimate natural standard to which all measures of 
extension might be referred. To this work she gave the important 
and universal character which it deserved by inviting the co-oper- 
ation of all nations. The subsequent adoption of the metrical sys- 
tem, with the metre, the forty millionth part of the circumference 
of the earth, as the unit of linear measurement, was a great era in 
the progress of uniformity. True, the progress of science has 
shown that the metre is not really the forty millionth part of the 
meridian, as supposed ; true that Great Britain has developed an 
opposition to this national standard which seems almost insuperable, 
and has been followed by the continental nations in this opposition. 
The first fact does not necessarily imply a change of unit, though 
it does point to the failure to realize its true extent ; but the 
second seems conclusive in regard to the necessity for new 

efforts at international uniformity And has not the 

time arrived, in the general progress of commercial and interna- 
tional intercourse, and the rapid advance of our own country in 
science, wealth, and power, when her voice should be heard in an 
important matter like this ? Should not Congress make the pro- 
position to all nations to meet by their representatives, and consult 
for the purpose of establishing permanent and universal uniformity 
of weights and measures ? Such action could not fail to meet with 
a response due to the greatness of the subject ; and, if the great 
object be attained, to lead to results productive of vast and lasting 
benefit to the human race." 

These propositions, the dictates of an enlightened sentiment of 
patriotism as well as of philanthropy, commend themselves to the 
wisdom of those who under our National Constitution, alone have 
power " to fix the standard of weights and measures." 
Respectfully submitted, 




" The triumph of the art of calculation, and that to which mainly the modern 
system of numeral computation, owes its perfection, consists in the ' device; of 
place,' by which all necessity for distinguishing the nature of the units signified 
by any symbol is superseded. Like many other inventions of the highest utility, 
this, when known, appears to arise so naturally and necessarily out of the exi- 
gencies of the case, that it must excite unqualified astonishment how it could 

have remained so long undiscovered That the honor of the invention 

of a system which produced such important effects as well on the Iivestigations 
of science, as in the common concerns of commerce, should be claimed bv 

many contending nations, is what would naturally be expected All 

Arabian authors on Arithmetic appear to agree that the first writer of that 
country upon this system of arithmetic, was Mohammed ben Muza, the 
Khuwarezmite, who flourished about the year 900. This writer is cele- 
brated for having introduced among his countrymen many important parta 
of the science of the Hindoos, to the cultivation of which he Avas devot- 
edly attached ; and among other branches of knowledge thence derived 
there is satisfactory evidence tliat this species of arithmetic was one. From 
the time of Mohammed ben Muza, the figures and modes of calculation intro- 
duced by him were generally adopted by scientific writers of Arabia, although 
a much longer period elapsed befoi'e they got into common popular use, even 
in that country. They were always distinguished by the name Hindasi; 

meaning the Indian mode of computation At the beginning of the 

eleventh century, the use of the Arabic notation had become universal in all 
the scientific works of Arabian writers, and more especially in their astro- 
nomical tables. The knowledge of it was of course communicated to all 
those people with whom the jNIoors held that intercourse which would lead 
to a community of scientific research. In the beginning of the eleventh cen- 
tury, the Moors were in possession of the southern part of Spain, Avhere the 
sciences were then actively cultivated. In this way the use of the new arith- 
metic was received into Europe first in scientific treatises. A translation of 
Ptolemy was published in Spain in 1136, in which this notation was used; 
and after this period it continued in general use for the purposes of science. 
Notwithstanding the knowledge and practice of this superior notation by sci- 
entific men, the Roman numerals continued to be used for purposes of busi- 
ness and commerce for nearly three centuries ; and it was only by slow and 
gradual steps that the improved notation prevailed over its clumsy and in- 
commodious predecessor. The first attempt to introduce it for the purposes 
of commerce, was made by a Tuscan merchant, Leonardo Pisano, in 1202. 
Having travelled in Barbary, he there learned the method of Hindoo arith- 
metic ; and struck with its superiority over that to which he had been accus- 
tomed, he determined that his countrymen should no longer be deprived of 
the benefits of it. He accordingly published his treatise in the Latin lan- 
guage ; in which he professes to deliver a complete doctrine of the numbers 
of the Indians A considerable period, however, was necessary to in- 
troduce this system into the common business of life. The extensive com- 
merce maintained by the Italian States directed their attention to the subject 



at an earlier period than other nations ; and although for scientific purposes, 
the date of the introduction of the Arabic numeration into Spain is earlier 
than that of its appearance in Italy, yet its use for the common business of 
life, prevailed at a much earlier period among the Italian States, than in any 
other nation of Europe." (Lardner's Treatise on Aiithmelic, book 1, ch. 2.) 

The Hindoo numerals are found in various manuscripts of Italy, bearing 
the dates 1212, 1220, 1228. But none are found in England till nearly two 
centuries later. Chaucer, the poet, who died in 1400, alludes to them in one 
of his poems, as " the Jigures 7ieice." 

According to Sir John Bowring, (" Decimal System : " pages 23-30,) 
tlie iirst calendar in the English language in which the Hindoo numerals are 
employed, bears the date of " 1431," and the earliest date known on a tomb- 
stone in these figures is "1454;" — the tombstone being that of " Elen 
Cook," in the church at Ware. The first English book which bears its date 
in these figures, is the '■^Rhelorica Nova, Gulielmi de Saona, 1478." And in 
seals, only one example has been found anterior to the sixteenth century, 
which bears the date 1484. " The Roman figures lingered longer in Eng- 
land," adds Bowring, " than in any other part of the European world ; having 
found an asylum in the dark and dull regions of the Exchequer," (page 26.) 
'' It is indeed scarcely credible, that the perplexing and entangled manner of 
keeping accounts by the Roman numerals, in the same barbarous style which 
was practised before the Norman Conquest, was maintained at the Exchequer, 
almost down to the present day In addition to this strange and ab- 
surd system of Exchequer book-keeping, tallies continued to be used down to 
the year 1782. It was only in the year 1831, that the Committee on Public 
Accounts, of which I was the Secretary, recommended the utter and complete 
abolition of the ancient system, and the adoption of the Indian numerals. 
It was in consequence of this change, that in the year 1835, the tallies were 
ordered to be burnt ; a conOagration which led to the destruction of both 
Houses of Parliament, — the Exchequer in which the tallies were kept, bav- 
in'" formed a part of the ancient edifice of St. Stephens." (Sir Jolin Bow- 
rinffs Decimal Si/stem, pages 124-125.) 

Delambre regards it as a fact humiliating to the pride of human genius, 
that the discovery of the true notation of number by nine digits and zero 
should have escaped the sagacity of the illustrious geometers and mathemati- 
cians of ancient Greece. " The Hindoos," says Peacock, " consider this 
method of numeration as of divine origin; 'The invention of nine figures 
with the device of place being ascribed to the beneficent Creator of the uni- 
verse.' Of its great anti(juity amongst them," he continues, " there can be 
no doubt, it having been used at a period certainly anterior to all existing 
records." (Encijclopedia Melropoldana.') It can be traced back with cer- 
tainty at least four centuries beibre its appearance among the Arabs ; and as 
Lardner well remarks, since " none of these Hindoo authors claim either for 
themselves or their predecessors, the invention of this method of numeration, 
but always mention it as being received from the Deity, we may infer that it 
was practised in that country beyond the limits even of tradition." The In- 
dian origin of our numerals being thus so well established, there is a manifest 



impropriety in continuing to designate tliem as the "Arabic figures," as is 
constantl}' done in our sehool Arithmetics. Let us give honor where honor 
is due. 


It is remarkable that this binary system, according to the opinion of many, 
was used in China, four tliousand years ago, by Fohi, the founder of the em- 
pire. A tablet of great but unknown antiquity, called the Cova of Fohi, 
marked with a series of variously broken lines, and held in superstitious rev- 
erence by the Chines;^, as containing the mystery of a divine wisdom, has 
been found to be completely deciphered by the notation of binary arithmetic. 
When Leibnitz had extensively' circulated his scheme or invention through 
the various scientific journals, and by means of his own correspondence, — 
it appears to have found its way even to China, and to have attracted the 
attention of a Jesuit Missionary at Pekin, named Bouvet. This ecclesiastic, 
engaged at the time in the study of the Chinese antiquities, discovered, and 
immediately communicated to Leibnitz with much exultation and enthusiasm, 
the surprising fact that his system furnished a perfect kej' to the mysterious 
lines upon the ancient Cova — hitherto inscrutable, or interpreted only by 
the speculations of the most extravagant mysticism. The lines of Fohi are 
arranged in an octagonal form, so as to make the ends approach ; — each set 
of the eight series being disposed on a side of the octagon. These lines trans- 
ferred from the Cova tablet, and placed in a straight line, are 
here represented. The row of figures in front expresses 
the value of each compound symbol, the other figures, 
which represent the binary notation, manifestly exhibitin"- a 
perfect correspondence with the symbols throughout. 

" These figures of eight cova," says Mr. Peacock, (in the 
Encyclopedia Metropolitan a) " are held in great veneration, 
being suspended in all their temples, and though not under- 
stood, are supposed to conceal great mysteries, and the true 
principles of all philosophy, both human and divine." 

This inscription is exceedingly interesting as exhibiting a 
true example of that philosophic notati'">n, the device of the 
cipher — and the determination of value by place. The absence of any 
other traces of such a notation in China, and its well-known antiquity in 
India, where it had been so fully elaborated, would lead to the suspicion that 
it was to this latter country that Fohi was indebted for this curious record 
of ingenious thought. It appears that Bouvet was fortunate enough to find 
subsequently, a Great Cova, in which these markings were carried to a period 
eight times the extent of the Small Cova. In the Edinhurg Encijclopedia — 
(article '• Arithmetic ") it is stated in reference to this subject, that " Father 
Bouvet, who first suggested this explanation, and communicated it to Liebnitz, 
afterwards procured, during his residence in China, the Great Figure of Fohi, 
which extends as far as 64. The exact coincidence which he still found to 
prevail between the combinations of these lines and the figures of the binary 
notation, left no doubt with regard to the justness of his conjecture ; and we 

II 1 


II 1 
















cannot help remarking that the restitution of the true sense of those charac- 
ters, after so long an interval of time, is a very singular fict in the history 
of science." 

It is interesting to trace the history of the gradual development, in modern 
times, of the grand but difhcult project of obtaining from nature a constant 
and universal standard of length. It is obvious that no such objects of ulti- 
mate reference as the human foot, or arm, or cubit, or as " thirty-six barley 
corns round and dry," can be regarded as natural standards, since they are 
wholly useless for the purpose of any precise- determination. And all meas- 
ures derived from them are purely arbitrary, as their authority is obtained 
trom positive enactment, merely, and not from any agreement with their 
nominal originals. Hence it is not at all surprising that " cubits" and "feet" 
come to signify anything the civil power may enact ; the former of these de- 
nominations ranging through every gradation of value, from the covid of 14^ 
inches to the royal Egyptian cw&(7 of 254^ inches, and the latter from the Pythic 
foot of 9| inches, to the Geneva foot of 19 inches. Nor would it ever be pos- 
sible from such sources, to reproduce a lost standard, with even the rudest 
approach to exactness. The necessity indeed for absolute and invariable 
units of measure, is only felt in a highly advanced condition of science, and of 
civilization. As Mr. Adams has well remarked, " For all the uses of weights 
and measures in their ordinary application to agricailture, traffic, and the 
mechanic arts, it is perfectly immaterial what the natural standard to which 
they are referable may be. The foot of Hercules, the arm of Henry the First, 
or the barley-corn is as sufficient for the purpose as the pendulum, or the 
quadrant of the meridian." (Report to Congress.) 

" The first attempt at fixing such a standard as should be accurate and uni- 
versal, both as to place and time, is due to the inventive genius of the cele- 
brated Huyghens. That philosopher demonstrated that the times of the 
vibrationsof pendulums depend on their length only. . . . Hence he conceiv- 
ed that the pendulum might afford a standard or unit for measures of length." 
{EdlnJmrgh Review, \o\. 9, p. 373.) It was in his " Ilorologium Oscillato- 
rium" (published about 1670,) that Huyghens proposed the use of the sec- 
onds pendulum as a universal and perpetual measure ; this length to be divided 
into three equal parts; and this third part (about 13 inches) to be called 
the horarij foot. 

The celebrated Picard, who first measured from Paris to Amiens in 1CC9, 
an arc of the meridian in France, making the degree equal to G8.945 miles, (a 
measurement memorable as having furnished Newton with the means of veri- 
fying his grand theory, incapable of determination from the pre-existing data.) 
also proposed in 1671, in agreement with the idea of Huyghens, that the 
pendulum beating seconds should be adopted as the unit of length. Picard 
h^s the merit of having first thrown out the suggestion, that the diurnal rota- 
tion of the earth ought to affect the oscillations of the pendulum, and that it 
ought to vibrate more rapidly toward the poles than toward the equator, 
ile accordingly tried the pendulum at Uranibourg, at Paris and at Cette, but 


was not fortunate enough to discover any sensible difference. Roemer also 
found the length the same at London. 

Ilicher, however, in the same year, 1671, or early in 1672, while engaged 
in the duties of his commission at Cayenne, on observing the length of the 
seconds' pendulum at this place (lat. 4°, SC north of the equator,) found it 
sensibly shorter than at Paris, (48°, 50' north,) the difference being about a 
liiyj and a (|uarter. Richer's discovery that the pendulum varied in length 
with the latitude, deprived it of that uniform character considered so neces- 
sary in a linear standard.* 

The Abbe Gabriel JNIouton, a distinguished mathematician who flourished 
at the same time, appears to be the first who suggested a measure derived from 
the earth. He proposed, almost simultaneously with the publication of Iluy- 
ghens, a decimal system of measures, based on the value of a minute of arc, as 
derived from Riccioli's length of a degree. This minute of the degree he 
called a miliare, the thousandth part of which he called a virga; equal to 5 
feet, 4|- inches. We have here the germ of the present French Metrology. 

Cassini, who in 1718 repeated the measurements of a meridian made by 
Picard, (extending his arc however further south, namely, from Paris to Dun- 
kirk, and making the degree 69.119 miles) proposed the earth's radius as the 
unit of length. He afterwards in his book De la Grandeur de la Terre, pro- 
posed as the unit, the six thousandth part of a minute of a degree of a great 
circle of the earth ; a measure very nearly equal to the foot. 

In 1748, M. de la Condamine, (who had recently returned from measuring 
a degree at the equator in Peru,) in a memoir read before the Academy of 
Sciences, resumed the idea of the pendulum as the unit of length ; proposing 
that it should be taken as beating seconds at the equator, as the most notable 
line of latitude, and as one likely to avoid all the prejudices Avhich might arise 
from national jealousy, were the latitude of any particular place selected. 
We see from this, the anxiety felt to secure a standard which might be com- 
mon and uniform among nations. 

In 1790, Talleyrand proposed to the constituent Assembly of France, that 
in view of the great diversity and confusion in the weights and measures of 
the country, a commission should be appointed for the purpose of consulting 
with a similar commission from the English Government, upon the subject of 
establishing a uniform international system of metrology, founded upon a sin- 
gle and universal standard. The proposal alluded to the only two natural 
standards which presented themselves, viz., the measure of the earth and the 
pendulum, and expressed a decided preference for the latter. The result of 
this movement was the appointment of Borda, Lagrange, Laplace, Monge, 
and Condorcet, as commissioners to examine into and report upon the sub- 
ject. After a careful consideration of the three plans submitted, namely, the 
pendulum, a quarter of the equator and a quarter of the ten-estrlal meridian, 
they very judiciously agreed in decidedly recommending the latter; regarding 
the- pendulum as an unsuitable standard, whether taken at forty-five degrees 
of latitude or at the equator. 

The attempt to enlist the co-operation of England proved abortive. " The 
operation of changes of opinion there," says Mr. Adams, " is slow — the 


aversion to all innovations deep. More than two hundred years had elapsed 
from tlie Gregorian reformation of the calendar, before it was adopted in 
England. . . . After a succession of more than sixty years of inquiries and 
experiments, the British parliament have not yet acted in the form of law." 
(^Report to Coiigress.^ 

It was just five hundred years after the statute of 17th Edward II., (A. D., 
1324,) enacted' that "three barley corns round and dry, make an inclj, — 
twelve inches make a foot," &c., before any change was made in the legal 
definition of the foot. By act of 5th George IV, c. 74, (1824,) it Is declared 
"the standard yard is the distance between the centres of the two points on 
the gold studs In the straight brass rod now In the custody of the Clerk 
of the House of Commons, whereon Is engraved 'standard Yard 17G0,' the 
brass being at the temperature of 62 degrees by Fahrenheit's thermome- 
ter." [This brass standard yard was executed by Mr. Bird, a celebrated 
optician in 1760.] " The Yard, if lost, defaced, or otherwise injured, may 
be restored by comparing it with the pendulum vibrating seconds of mean 
time in the lati!ude of London, In a vacuum, on the level of the sea, the yard 
being In the proportion of 36 inches, to 39.13D3 inches of the pendulum." 
This was the first attempt to refer the English foot to a natural standard. 

Ten years afterwards, or in 1834, the contingency provided for by this 
statute actually occurred by the burning of the Houses of Parliament ; in 
"which conflagration the celebrated brass standard of Bird was destroyed. 
Although the only actual legal standard was thus lost, no attempt was made 
to restore it by the pendulum, as provided by law; but the mean of twelve 
different standards, including one belonging to the Royal Astronomical Soci- 
ety, which had been constructed and carefully compared with Bird's Imperial 
Standard, a short time before its destruction, was selected as giving the near- 
est approximation to the legal standard yard. 

A commission was appointed by the British government, In 1838, "to con- 
sider the steps to be taken for the restoration of the Standards of Weight and 
Measure." The Commissioners in their Report, made in 1841, say: "We 
are of opinion that the definition contained In the Act 5, Geo. IV, c. 74 ss. 
1 & 4, by which the standard yard and pound are declared to be respectively, 
a certain brass rod and a certain brass weight therein specified, is the best 
which It is possible to adopt. Since the passing of the said act, It has been 
ascertained that several elements of reduction of the pendulum experiments 
therein referred to are doubtful or erroneous ; thus the reduction for the 
weight of air was erroneous ; the specific gravity of the pendulum was erro- 
neously stated, the faults of the agate plates introduced some degree of doubt, 
and sensible errors were introduced in the operation of comparing the length 
of the pendulum with Shuckburgh's scale, used as the representative of the h^gal 
standard. It is evident therefore that the course prescribed by the act would 
not necessarily reproduce the length of the original yard. Several measures 
however exist, which were most accurately compared with the former stand- 
ard yard. And we are fully persuaded, that with i-easonable precautions, It 
■will always be possible to provide for the accurate restoration of standards by 
means of material copies which have been carefully compared with them, 


more securely than by reference to any experiments referring to natural 
constants." And the report concludes by recommending " that the standard of 
length be defined by the whole length of a certain piece of metal or other dur- 
able substance, supported in a certain manner, at a certain temperature ; or 
by the distance between two points or lines engraved upon the surface of a 
certain piece of metal or other durable substance, supported in a cer- 
tain manner and at a certain temperature ; but that the standard be in no 
way defined by reference to any natural basis, such as the length of a degree 
of meridian on the earth's surfcice in an assigned latitude, or the length of the 
pendulum vibrating seconds in a specified place .... That the standard of 
"weight be defined by a certain piece of metal or other durable substance," &c. 

It thus appears as the result of this last Commission in England, that the 
people of that country are disposed to abandon all attempts at obtaining a 
natural standard, and to recur to the authority of an arbitrary rod or piece 
of metal, whose length has been derived from prescriptive custom. It should 
be considered, however, that after a natural standard has been obtained, we 
still have all the means of its material perpetuation, suggested in the Commis- 
sioners' Report. And no foreign community is ever likely to accept as an 
authoritative unit of measure, a certain brass rod manufactured in England, 
and incapable of any more precise definition. 

In addition to the difiiculties of obtaining from the pendulum the re-con- 
struction of a lost standard, as above indicated, it is not unimportant to note 
that there is an original uncertainty In the determination of Its length, of 
nearly the thousandth part of an inch. " We cannot venture to say tliat the 
clock's rate In a given day, can be determined certainly to within one-tenth 
part of a second, although the comparisons have been made at an Interval of 
twenty-four hours. Seeing then that the free pendulum is compared with 
the clock only over a small fraction of the day, it Is a great deal to expect 
that ils daily rate can be ascertained to within one second of time. A change 
of one second per day In the rate of a clock, corresponds to a change of 
^^^g-g- , in the length of the pendulum, -which is about ^^^ of an inch, 
or -Jj of a millimetre ; and therefore we may regard this distance as indicat- 
ing the probable limit of exactitude." {Encyclopedia Brilannica, 8th edition, 
vol. 1 7, p. 384, article " Pendulum," by Edward Sang.) 


The only account we have been able to obtain of the important movement 
of Charles XII toward superseding the decimal by the octonary system, 
throughout Sweden, is that contained in a volume entitled " A Compendium 
of the Theological and Spiritual Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg," (royal 
octavo,) published at Boston by Crosby & Nichols, 18j4. In the life of Swed- 
enborg, prefixed to the " Compendium," it is said, "In 1719 he published 
four works ; first, '■A Proposal for fixing the value of Coins and determining 
the Pleasures of Sweden, so ax to suppi-ess fractions, and facditate Calculations.' 
After which he was commanded by his Sovereign to draw up an Octonary 
Computus, (a mode of computing by eighths,) which he completed in a few 
days, with its application to the received divisions of Coins, Weights and 
Measures ; a disquisition on Cubes and Squares, and a new and easy way of 


extracting Hoots ; all illustrated by appropriate examples." (Life, p. 9.) 
As Swedenborg devised for his " Octonary Computus," both a set of charac- 
ters, and of new names, we were exceedingly anxious to have enriched this 
Report with their representation. We have failed, however, to find any clue 
to these early publications in any of the public Librai'ies or private collections 
to which we have had access. The only additional reference to the subject 
in the volume above referred to, is contained in a letter from Swedenborg to 
M. Nordbsrg, written after the death of Charles XII, which appears to do- 
tail the monarch's first conception of the project of a reformation in the pop- 
ular system of numeration. An extract, giving all that relates to the subject 
of octonary computation, is here copied. 

Letter of M. Swedenborg, Assessor of the Board of 3Iines, to M. Nordberj, 
Author of the History of Charles XI L. 

" Sir : — As you are now actually engaged upon the Life of Charles XII, 
I avail myself of the opportunity to give you some information concerning 
that monarch, which is perhaps new to you, and worthy of being transmitted 

to posterity Conversing one day with the king upon arithmetic, and 

the mode of counting, we observed that almost all nations, upon reaching ten, 
began again ; that those figures which occupy the first place, never change 
their value, while those in the second place were multiplied ten-fokl, and so 
on with the others ; to which we added that men had apparently begun by 
counting their fingers, and that this method was still {)i"actised by the people ; 
that arithmetic having been formed into a science, figures had been invented, 
which were of the utmost service ; and, nevertheless, that the ancient mode 
of counting had been always retained, in beginning again after arriving at 
ten, and which is observed by putting each figure in its proper place. 

The king was of opinion that had such not been the origin of our mode of 
counting, a much better and more geometrical method might have been in- 
vented, and one which would have been of great utility in calculations, by 
making choice of some other periodical number than 10. That the number 
10 had this great and necessary inconvenience, — that when divided by 2, it 
could not be reduced to the number 1, without entering into fractions. Be- 
sides, as it comprehends neither the square, nor the cube, nor the fourth 
power of any number, many difficulties arise in numerical calculations. 
Whereas, had the periodical number been 8, or IG, a great facility would have 
resulted, the first being a cube number of which the root is 2, and the second 
a square number of which the root is 4 ; and that these numbers being divided 
by 2, their primitive, the number 1 would be obtained, which would be highly 
useful with regard to money and measures, by avoiding a quantity of frac-, 
tions. The king, after speaking at great length on this subject, expressed a 
desire that we should make a trial with some other number tlian 10. Having 
represented to him that this couM not be done unless we invented new figures, 
to which also names altogether different from the ancient ones must be given, 
as otherwise great confusion would arise, he desired us to prepare an example 
in point. We chose the number 8, of Avhich the cube root is 2, and which 
being divided by 2, is reduced to the primitive number 1. We also invented 
new figures, to which we gave new names, and proceeded according to the 
ordinary method ; after which we applied them to the cubic calculations, as 
well as to money, and to measures. The essay having been presented to the 
king, he was pleased with it." (Appendix to Life, ^-c, pp. 123, 124.) 




The undersigned find the task allotted to them rendered 
difficult from the fact that the subjects submitted for their 
united judgment, were too numerous to be fully discussed 
during their limited opportunities of being together. The 
previous reports on the preliminary revision of the Pharma- 
copoeia, submitted by the several divisions of the large com- 
mittee at the last annual meeting, were filled with numerous 
suggestions growing out of local preferences and tlie limited 
experience of individuals, which are entitled to small influence 
in legislating for the country at large ; from these we have 
endeavored to select the most important improvements, though 
in some instances obliged to take for granted the assent of 
each other. We have also drawn largely upon the results of 
our own experience, and upon the observations of practical 
pharmaceutists recorded in the journals. 

As it will bo impossible for the Association in its collective- 
capacity to consider the details of this report, it will be neces- 
sary to take upon trust most of the improvements proposed, 
and to give them a tacit sanction in view of their being sub- 
mitted to the Pharmacopceal Convention. This consideration 
has limited our disposition to propose innovations, and has 
induced us to reject many suggestions in the previous reports, 
which, though valuable contributions to pharmaceutical knowl- 
edge, would, if incorporated in this, weaken its influence as an 
official presentation of the actual demands of pharmaceutical 

The convention for revising the Pharmacopoeia has never 
considered the revision in detail, but, recognizing the impracti- 
cability of opening subjects requiring such carefal and accu- 


rate determination to be decided by a mixed assembly, has 
always submitted the whole work of revision to a small com- 
mittee, who have bestowed the most rigid scrutiny and weighty 
consideration upon every detail. In their investigations, your 
Committee have been impressed with the responsibility of 
attempting alterations in the National Code, and, influenced 
by the following principles of action, they desire to hold them 
up to all concerned in the work. 

1st. There should be no important changes in nomenclature 
or in processes unless imperatively demanded by the require- 
ments of practice or necessary to keep pace with the progress 
of Pharmaceutical Science. 

2d. The Pharmacopceia not being a scientific, but a practical 
Code, should contain none but the most plain and practicable 
forn:iul£E; its nomenclature should be maintained upon such a 
basis as will not be liable to fluctuation, and simplicity and 
accuracy should be its leading features. 

3d. No drug or preparation should be inserted in the Phar- 
macopoeia until it has an extended reputation in at least sev- 
eral localities — except improved forms of preparation for 
well known drugs. 

4th. The Pharmacopoeia not being designed to furnish all 
the combinations called for in practice, should contain only a 
limited number of extemporaneous preparations which are 
well adapted to general wants and of utility to both Physi- 
cian and Pharmaceutist. 

fVciorJits and Measures. 

Of all tlie proposed general reforms in the Pharmacopoeia, 
none has excited so much discussion as the proposed change 
in the system of Weights and Measures ; the importance of 
this subject is increased by the fact that our transatlantic 
brethren who are now engaged in consolidating the three 
British Pharmacopoeias into one, with the intention of making 
a national standard which shall come up to the requirements 


of tlic time, have agreed upon a course which will quite disturb 
the accord which has heretofore subsisted between our own 
weights and those of two of the British colleges. The prop- 
osition agreed upon, is to substitute the avoirdupois weight 
with the Troy form, so that the weights and measures of the 
British Pharmacopoeia will stand thus: — 

20 grains = 1 scruple (= 18.22 troy grains) 60 minims = 1 drachm (fluid) 

60 '■ =3 scruples = 1 drachm 8 dnxchms = 1 ounce " 

8 drachms = 1 ounce 20 ounces = 1 pint 

IC ounces = 1 pound 8 pints = 1 gallon. 

The grain, which has always been the uniform denomination 
through which the Troy and avoirdupois weights were com- 
pared with each other, and calculated into decimal weights, 
and which has been so universally used in the weighing of 
small quantities, the statement of doses and for dispensing 
purposes, is here changed to a decimal, .91145, so as to make 
480 grains equal to the former ounce of only 437.5. 

In the new system of measurement the minim is changed in 
the same ratio, though in consequence of tho adoption of the 
Imperial measure of twenty fluid ounces to the pint, the cor- 
respondence between the weights and measures only applies 
to the fluid drachm and fluid ounce. 

This arrangement has not been adopted by our transatlantic 
brethren without a great deal of opposition on the part par- 
ticularly of the English Pharmaceutists, but we believe it is 
finally determined on, and in view of the immense importance 
of a correspondence in the weights and measures between our 
own and the British Pharmacopoeias, it becomes an important 
inquiry how the question shall be disposed of by us. 

Apart from this, the change proposed strikes us as possess- 
ing advantages which recommend it to our especial considera- 
tion, although the limited discussion it has received as yet in 
this country, and our want of familiarity with its practical 
working, makes it premature for us to decide in its favor at 


The increased popularity among men of science, of the deci- 
mal system of measurement and weight now used, especially 
in France, has led to a wish on the part of some, that, although 
its adoption in the present Pharmacopoeia would be quite out 
of the question, the choice might be allowed in each formula 
between the weights and measures made officinal and the equiv- 
alent decimal parts in grammes. We do not know that the 
association would be prepared to adopt such a recommenda- 
tion and only present the subject here as one which will have 
to be met by the Pharmacopoeal Convention, and on which the 
opinion of the American Pharmaceutical Association might be 
appropriately expressed. 


The process of Percolation, which is the name we propose 
to apply to it in the Pharmacopoeia, was first introduced into 
the work in 1840. At that time it was a new invention in 
Pharmacy, and little known outside the more intelligent circles, 
so that the Convention and its Committee introduced it with 
caution as supplementary to maceration in the directions for 
making tinctures, some extracts and syrups. In the revision 
of 1850, it was made still more prominent a feature in the 
work, but in very few instances to the exclusion of maceration. 
For twenty years this has been gaining ground among us until 
it has well-nigh become the universal method of extracting the 
active principles of vegetable substances. 

During this time the process has been improved by modifi- 
cations of the original directions, and only recently by the 
observations and experiments of members of this association 
have some of the conditions essential to the most perfect suc- 
cess in its prosecution been arrived at. 

We therefore propose to revise the general description of 
the process, among the Preliminary Notices, in the first part 
of the work, and as this can not be made to include all the 
conditions necessary to be described in individual cases, we 


propose to give the most exact and specific directions in each 
formula, describing the coarseness or fineness of the powder 
by the sieve through wliich it is to be passed, indicating the 
proper amount of menstruum to be added before packing in 
the apparatus, and then with as much precision as practicable 
the mode of conducting the subsequent parts of the process. 
In Appendix B, we have given the proposed general descrip- 
tion of percolation. 

The List. 

We propose to add to the primary list, 16 items now 
contained in the secondary, to insert 26 new items in the pri- 
mary, and 15 in the secondary. These will be found in the 
appendix marked A. 

"We have included in these changes, the transfer from the 
preparations, of carbonate of ammonia, ether, chloroform, 
ethereal oil, oil of amber and glycerin. 

These preparations seem so completely out of the range of 
the shop manipulations as to go appropriately among those 
articles obtained exclusively from manufacturers who seldom 
regulate their processes according to the requirements of the 
Pharmacopoeia. It is proposed, of course, to append to each 
of the names, as they occur in the list, full and accurate descrip- 
tions of the properties of the article, with tests for the detec- 
tion of impurities and sophistications. 

This department of detail, we are glad to know, will be 
specially attended to even in the preliminary revision, the 
Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Committee having allotted 
it to a special sub-cdmmittee, who will, no doubt, avail them- 
selves of the light thrown on the subject of the ethers and 
numerous other preparations by Dr. E. R. Squibb, in his able 
report to this Association last year. 

The adoption of a nniform practice in regard to the loca- 
tion of officinal chemicals, whether in the list or among the 
preparations, though very desirable as a guide to the nu- 
merous pharmaceutists and physicians concerned in the revision, 


has never yet been attained. Some propose inserting in the 
list all the chemicals which it is not practicable to make in 
pharmaceutical stores, as they are usually furnished in this 
country. This rule "would exclude the processes for spirit of 
nitric ether, the salts of the alkaloids, mercurial mass, and 
many other preparations which have been long retained in 
their present position, and could not, it seems to us, be spared 
without serious detriment to the usefulness of the work. 

It has been suggested to give a good working formula for 
every chemical preparation used in medicine, as an indication 
to the pharmaceutist that he may prepare it, if desirable ; but 
this course would, we think, greatly increase the bulk of the 
work, without adding to its value for the purposes of its 

We should prefer the rule, if any rule need be adopted, to 
include in the iireparatlons all those chemicals used exclusively 
in medicine, with such of those used also in the arts, as are 
readily made on a small scale, and to confine the list chiefly to 
those which are used in the arts and incidentally in medicine. 

Perhaps, however, the course heretofore adopted is the 
safest to leave the decision in each individual case to the com- 
mittee for the final revision, who will be guided by all the cir- 
cumstances to a judicious decision. 


Accta. — To this class we propose no additions but to 
modify the formula for AccUim colckki, and as in appendix C, 
1, and that for Acetum Opii as in appendix C, 2, by the mod- 
ification in the last named preparation it is increased in 
strength to three times that of Laudanum, instead of twice, and 
is rendered more readily practicable. 


We propose to add to this class, the following : 
Aqua Acidi Carhonlci, to be transferred from the class of 
medicated waters. 


Acidum Nitro Muriaticum Dilutum. — Take of Nitro Muriatic 
acid, receiith^ prepared, one fluid ounce. 

Distilled water, four fluid ounces. 

Mix tlicm. The object of this addition is to avoid as far 
as practicable the well known inconvenience of dispensing 
the strong acid, and to preserve in solution a larger portion 
of the gaseous products of the mixture than the small bulk 
of the strong acid will retain. 

Acidum Phos])horic2(m Dilutum. — Adopt the formula of "Wil- 
liam S. Thompson, transactions of the Marj'land College of 
Pharmacy, vol. 1., No. 2, and also direct as an alternative, the 
solution of proper proportion of the glacial phosphoric acid, 
if made officinal in the list. 

Acidum Valerianicum. — This acid may be conveniently 
made from valerianate of soda, which might be made officinal 
for this use and with a view to furnishing any other valerian- 
ates which it is thought desirable to introduce into the Pharm- 

Acidum Sulphuricmn Aromaticum. — We propose a modified 
manipulation which is less complex, and in the experience of 
one of your committee, more satisfactory. (Appendix C, 3.) 


The experiments of Headland. Foot note to U. S. Dispen- 
satory, 10th edition, page 823. Should be carefully repeated 
by the Committee. 


Oilier Fortior. — Introduce this among the preparations 
under the general head ^iherea, adopting the formula of Dr. 
Squibb. Page 394. Proceeding of 1858. 

Collodium. — Among the numerous processes which have 
been proposed for this preparation, we recommend to the 
special attention of the Committee on the final revision, the 
mixed acid process, with the suggestion to use a colored salt 
mouth bottle to contain the cotton in contact with the acids, 


and to protract the immersion for 6 or 12 hours. The neces- 
sity of bringing the prepared cotton to dryness seems to be 
obviated by the use of one fifth strong alcohol, with the ether 

Spirit JEtheris Nitrici. — The substitution of a practicable 
process for this preparation, on the plan on the British Pharm- 
accopceias, with the details submitted by Dr. Squibb, last year, 
will, we believe, place this preparation more within the scope 
of the pharmaceutist, and would be an improvement. 


Liquor Ammonice. Fortior. — The strongest solution of ammo- 
nia officinal in the list, is entirely too concentrated to be used, or 
preserved, especially in our hot summers without the rapid dis- 
engagement of the gas. We recommend the reduction of the 
specific gravity to .920 or to such point as that by dilution 
with an equal portion of water, (not two parts as at present,) 
it shall give the appropriate strength for ordinary use. 

Liquor AmmonicE, placed among the preparations, should, we 
think, be made by the wet process given by Dr. Squibb. Page 
407, of proceedings of last year. 

Spiriius Ammonice Aromaticus. — This, we think, should be 
increased in the proportion of the ammoniacal salt, and should 
be rendered easy of preparation by the adoption of a formula 
for the solution of carbonate of ammonia in alcohol and the 
subsequent addition of the essential oils of cinnamon, cloves, 
and lemon peel. The specific gravity should be clearly stated 
in the case of the officinal sjnritus aiyimonia. 

Alcohol Fortior. — We recommend the adoption of a formula 
for this preparation, to be made from the alcohol officinal in 
the list, to have the sp. gr. .796. It has the advantage of being 
purer, as well as stronger, by the rectification necessary to 
bring it to this specific gravity, and though unnecessary in all 
the cases in which alcohol is prescribed, it would be useful in 
several preparations. 


Antimonium. — Since the abandonment of the somewhat 
uncertain and very unscientific Pulvis Antimonialis from the 
Pharmacopoeias, many physicians have experienced the want 
of a good preparation of oxide of antimony, and within a few 
years past a definite mixture of the teroxide of antimony and 
phosphate of lime, has come into use, both in this country and 
in England, under the name of Tyson's antimonial powder. 
We suggest the insertion of this or of the undiluted teroxide 
in the Pharmacopoeia. The latter powder, though now little 
known to physicians, would be useful in the preparation of 
definite antimonial compounds. 


Aqua Destillata. — Modify this, directing that the water 
should be boiled previously to adapting the head of the still, 
or that the first two pints should be rejected. 

Aqua Rosa. — The proportion of rose leaves should be 
reduced to one-half the present officinal quantity. 

We propose to add to the present series — 

Aqua AmygalcB Persicce. 
Take of Peach leaves, ... 2 lbs. 

Water, .... 2 gallons. 

Mix them and disti^ one gallon. 

Aqua Sambuci. 
Take of Elder flowers, ... 8 lbs. 

Water, .... 2 gallons. 

Mix them and distil one gallon. 

We propose to add as supplementary to the process for each 
of the following now in the Pharmacopoeia, a process for its 
preparation by distillation from the crude drug. 
Aqua Cinnamoni, from Ceylon Cinnamon. 
Aqua Fceniculi, from the fruit. 
Aqua MenthfB Piperitse, from the fresh herb. 
Aqua MenthtB Yiridis, from the fresh herb. 


We propose also removing from this class, the officinal Aqua 
Acidi Carbonic! and placing it among the class — Acida. 


Argenti Cyanuretum we propose to name Argenti Cyanidura- 


We propose that subcarhonate of bismuth, be made officinal 
among the preparations, with a good practicable formula. 

Cadmhim. — Suli^hate of Cadmium, has a wide spread repu- 
tation among oculists, and it becomes a question whether it 
should not be introduced into the Pharmacopoeia. 


The improved process for Ceratum calamina, (appendix C, 
3,) is recommended as a decided improvement on the present. 
Rancidity being avoided and a more perfect union of the cal- 
amine in a fine powder, with the unctious ingredients, being 

Ceratum Plumbi Subacctatis. — An improved formula for this 
is presented. (Appendix C, 4.) 

Ceratum Sabina. — We append an improved formula iden- 
tical in its results with that proposed by Prof. Graham of the 
Committee last year. (Appendix C, 5.) 

Ceratum Sa/ponis. — Modification proposed", (appendix C, 6) ; 
this is a more ready process, we think, and at least, equally 
good in its results. 


Covfcctio RoscR. — We propose to substitute the formula 
marked C, 6. 

Confection SemKz. — We propose to substitute the formula, 
C, 7. 

We would omit the class Pulpce from the Pharmacopoeia. 


Em])lastrum Ammoniaci Cum Hydrargyro. — We propose a 
new formula. (See appendix C, 8.) 


Emplastnim Oj)ii. — See new formula, (appendix C, 9.) 

Emplastrum Picis Cum Cantharide. — We propose to reduce 
the quantity of cerate of cantharides from 6 ounces to 4 
ounces in the officinal formula. As now made, the preparation 
is apt to blister. 

Emplastnim Plumhi. — For 5 lbs. of semi-vietrified oxide of 
lead in the formula, substitute 4|- lbs., as furnishing a more 
perfect plaster. 

Emplastrum Aconiti. — We propose to introduce the formula 
for this preparation suggested by Prof Procter. (American 
Journal of Pharmacy, vol. 25, page 202.) 


We give a new process for the alcoholic extracts of the 
narcotic plants, &c.,'in which alcohol is substituted for a por- 
tion of the diluted alcohol in the process, and spontaneous 
evaporation employed instead of that by artificial heat in 
reducing the alcoholic liquid. This produced a more efficient 
extract, and where the herb has been carefully dried and pre- 
served, these extracts are believed to be preferable to the 
inspissated juices of the fresh plants. (See appendix C, 10.) 

We recommend the introduction of an Extractum CinchoncB 
Precipitatus similar to that made the formula of Charles Ellis 
in vol. XX. p. 15, American Journal of Pharmacy as Extractum 
Calisayicum, see also Parrish's Pharmacy, 2d edition, p. 186. 

Extracta Cinchonce Rubrce and Flavce. — A modified for- 
mula, appendix C, 11. 

Extractum Jalapcz and PodophyUi. — A modified formula, 
appendix C, 12. 

Extractum CimicifugcB to be added, formula similar to fore- 

Extractum Colocynthidis. — We propose to adopt Dr. Squibb's 
suggestion upon the admixture of simple extract of colocynth 
with the other ingredients that make the compound, and hence 


propose that this preparation be made officinal, and that the 
formula for 

Exiractinn CoIocyntJddis Composita should be altered accord- 
ingly, being directed in the form of powder exclusively. See 
proceedings of 1858, p. 411. 

Extractum Ignatia Amara. — Make this officinal, to be made 
by the process for Extractum Nucis Vomicae, with a provision 
for the removal of the fixed oil if practicable. 

Extractum Opli. — We propose to amend tliis process, as in 
the formula, appendix C. 13. 

Extractum Rhei. — This preparation is very unsatisfactory 
by the old officinal process. We append a formula (appendix 
C, 14) which gives a preparation of a more uniform pilulae 
consistence and greater proportional activity. 

Extractum Taraxaci. — This extract of pilulse consistence 
and elegant quality may be made from the dry root as pro- 
posed in the appendix C. 15. This is very practicable by 
apothecaries, and superior to the common commercial article 

Extractum Gentiana. — Instead of merely heating the filter- 
ed infusion to the boiling point, this process should be modified 
in accordance with the suggestion of Dr. Squibb, by continu- 
ing the boiling so as to effect a more complete separation of 
the albuminous coagulum or straining. See proceedings of 
1858, page 412. 


Of this class we would suggest the adoption of the follow- 
ing in the Pharmacopoeia : Resina. JaIaj)oc, Rcsina Fodo2)hyIli. 
We arc not, however, prepared to recommend formula} which 
would be certainly satisfactory. The experience of one of 
your Committee is in favor of the formula for resin of pod- 
ophyllum published in Parrish's Pharmacy, 2d edition, page 



The most extensive additions proposed to the preparations 
are in the class of Fluid Extracts. In view of the influence of 
fashion upon the prevailing methods of medical practice, we 
think a care should be felt by the Convention not to incor- 
porate this element too largely into the Pharmacopoeia at 

No such preparations, with the exception of two or three 
classed as concentrated Infusions, are known in the foreign 
Pharmacopoeias. A large proportion of those in use among 
us have originated and have been until very recently made 
exclusively by manufacturing pharmaceutists to whose adver- 
tising they owe their extended use. It is notorious that 
loose and inaccurate ideas of their strength exist among phy- 
sicians, and every apothecary of large experience must have 
met with constant evidences that their general introduction, 
like unadvised changes in the Pharmacopoeia, are calculated 
to unsettle physicians in their old modes of prescribing with- 
out their fully comprehending the new regime introduced. 

We propose that the following Fluid Extracts should be 
made officinal, in addition to those now in the Pharmacopoeia. 

Fluid Extract of Buchu. 

Fluid Extract of Ergot. 

Fluid Extract of Wild Cherry. 

Fluid Extract of Cimicifuga. 

Fluid Extract of Cinchona. 

Fluid Extract of Gentian. 

Fluid Extract of Ipecacuanha. 

Fluid Extract of Lobelia. 

Fluid Extract of Taraxacum. (See appendix C, 16.) 

Of those now officinal, we propose to remove the fluid 
extracts of pepper and cubebs into a separate class to be 
called Olco Rcsina. The suggestion that the formula? for all 
Fluid Extracts should be so constructed as that the resulting 


preparation should represent a fluid ounce to each ounce of 
the drug, meets our entire approval. 

Prof. Procter, having by appointment prepared an elabor- 
ate essay on this class of preparations to be read at the pres- 
ent meeting, your Committee omit the suggestions they had 
intended to offer, referring to his paper, which covers the 
entire ground of those fluid extracts already officinal and a 
large number not recognized by the Pharmacopoea from which 
to select for the purposes of this revision. See, also, Trans. 
Med. Col. Ph., N. S., Vol. 1, No. 2, for new formula for Fluid 
Extract of Valerian ; and Yol. 1, No. 1, for formula for Fluid 
Extract of Buchu; also Parrish's Pharmacy, 2d edition, p. 195 
to 219. 


Tinctura Ferri Chloridi. — This preparation has occasioned 
so much difficulty and discussion that the demand for a new or 
modified formula is imperative ; of those proposed, that of 
Dr. Squibb, which is an adaptation to this preparation, of the 
process for obtaining pure sesqui chloride of iron, has our pre- 
ference. See Am. Jour. Pharmacy., vol. xxx., p. 289. 

Ferri lodidum — Liq. Ferri lodidi. — The officinal pro- 
cesses are very practicable, and yield good products, though 
the suggestions in the proceedings of last year, pp. 414 and 
417, are worthy of consideration. 

Liq. Ferri Fer Suljjhatis. and Ferri Oxidum Hijdratum. — It 
is proposed to make a preparation officinal under the former 
of these names and to prepare the hydrated oxide from this by 
adding ammonia and washing. By this arrangement the latter 
preparation is rendered easy to prepare in the fresh condition 
necessary to furnish an efficient antidote to arsenious acid — 
while a liquid persalt of iron is at hand for making ammonia, 
ferric alum and other sesqui salts of iron. — For formula, see 
Parrish's Pharmacy, 2d edition, p. 512 to 514. 


Ferri et Ammonia. Sulphas. — Ammonia Iron Alum. This 
.salt is deemed worthy to be made officinal. See formula, 
Parrish's Pharmacy, 2d edition, p. 513. 

Ferri Lactas. — The extensive use of the protolactate of 
iron, its agreeable properties and the want of an authoritative 
formula for its preparation, all point to its introduction into 
the national standard. Wittstein's Pharmaceutical Chemistry 
furnishes two working formulas, though your Committee have 
had no experience with either. 

Ferri Valerianas. — "Wittstein gives a working formula, to 
which the Committee of Revision is referred, should they on 
mature deliberation adopt the preparation. 

Ferri et Quinice Citras. — This preparation is very exten- 
sively I'rescribed, though made of varying proportions to suit 
the views and interests of manufacturers. It is questionable 
whether the wants of the profession require that it should be 
made officinal. Dr. Squibb has bestowed much attention to 
the details of its manufacture, and his article in the Am, Jour. 
Ph., vol, xxvii., p. 294, will furnish light upon it, if it should be 
determined to introduce it. 

Ferri Fhosphas. — The mixed and variable character of this 
salt famishes an objection to its use, and the introduction of 
the pyro phosphate and the extensive preference given it in 
practice seem to point to its substitution. 


We are not aware of any important changes or additions 
required among the preparations of mercury, but would suggest 
the revision of the tests appended to each, and that tests be 
appended to hydrargyrum cum creta. 


These classes of preparations are mostly directed to be 
made by processes which furnish very inelegant results. If 
physicians would be satisfied, in the case of the infusions, to 


substitute the process of displacement with cold water as 
practised in the case of Infusum cinchonae flavse, it would 
meet the approval of pharmaceutists generally. 

Infusum Digitalis. — The addition of tincture of cinnamon 
should precede the straining of the infusion. 


Decoctions should be boiled in a covered vessel for a defi- 
nite length of time and then make up to the proper measure 
by the addition of water. The present processes are either 
indefinite or difficult to carry out accurately. 


In the directions for calcining magnesia, substitute a heat 
below redness, so as to secure a softer product. 

Liquor Magnesice Citratis. — We propose to substitute the 
following : 

Take of Citric Acid, nine ounces. 

Magnesia, two ounces and five drachms. 

Syrup of Citric Acid, 12 fluid ounces, or sufficient. 
Water, one gallon, or sufficient. 

Make an acid solution of citrate of magnesia with citric 
acid, magnesia and three pints of the water ; to this add the 
lemon syrup and divide the whole among twelve bottles each 
of twelve fluid ounces capacity; fill these with the remainder of 
the water, adjust the corks, and add to each bottle about forty 
grains of bicarbonate of potassa. The quantity of magne- 
sia must be varied from the above, if the citrate formed is not 
decidedly acid to the taste ; and if, after the solution is mixed 
with the syrup, it is deemed disagreeably acid or alkaline, the 
quantity of the bicarbonate of potassa maybe varied accord- 


Add to this class : 

Oleum Erigeronis. — From the several species of flcabane. 



In the formula for Pilidce Catliarticce Composkcc it is pro- 
posed to substitute extract of podophyllum for that of jalap; 
with a view to retain this preparation of the same degree of 
activity as heretofore, two drachms of the former extract 
might substitute the three drachms of the latter, though this 
would make the pill somewhat smaller. 

Filidce Ferri lodidi might be advantageously omitted, being 
a very imperfect preparation. 

Pihdce Hydra rgijri CJdoridi Mitis. — These pills are rarely 
prescribed in the officinal proportion, and should be omitted. 

Pilula Ojni. — We have long thought opium an unsuitable 
excipient, for a drug containing an alkaloid salt which is in- 
compatible with alkalies. 

Pilula ScillcB CompositcB are, we think, nearly obsolete. 

Pilulce Calomelmios CompositcE. — The well known Plum- 
mer's Pill is extensively prescribed in this country, increas- 
ingly so in the experience of your Committee, and we think it 
should be made officinal, adopting the new formula of the Brit- 
ish Colleges, when ascertained. 


Potassa Cum Cake. — Should direct in addition to the pow- 
der a fused or stick caustic. 


These preparations are never prepared, that we know of, for 
separate use, and we propose their being omitted from the new 
edition, substituting a different mode of preparation for con- 
fection of senna. 


The increasing use of chlorate of soda, in place of chlorate 
of potassa, induced by its greater solubility and asserted 
milder action, raises the question whether it might not be 
placed among the preparations of the New Pharmacopoeia; 
if so, what is the best and most practicable process for its 
preparation ? 


Valerianote of Soda is mucli used for the preparation of 
other valerianates, and should be introduced for that purpose. 


Sgnqms Aurantii Corticls. — This recipe should specify what 
kind of orange peel is designed. The fresh oranges of our 
markets yield a pleasantly flavored syrup, without bitter- 
ness, while the bitter orange peel of the shops furnishes a bit- 
ter and more medicinal syrup. 

Syrupus Ipecac uanhcs. — The present officinal process by 
displacement yields a good preparation, if followed with care, 
but there is an almost universal preference among pharmaceu- 
tists for a less complicated formula, using a fluid extract and 
simple syrup. . We find among physicians and pharmaceutists 
a general opinion in favor of increasing the proportion of the 
active ingredient in this syrup. Wine of ipecacuanha at pres- 
ent has double the strength of syrup, and we incline to an 
ounce and a half instead of an ounce in this recipe, and double 
that quantity in the case of the wine. 

Synqms Pruni Virginiana. — We think that with a fine 
powder instead of coarse, as specified in this formula, a 
stronger preparation would be practicable, and suggest six 
ounces instead of five of the bark to the quantities directed in 
the officinal formula. 

Synqms SclUce Comjjoskiis. — No way occurs to us to 
improve this opprobrium of our art so free from objection as 
that suggested by Wm. Hodgson, Jr., to use acetic acid as the 
anticcptic ingredient. 

Synqms Sennce. — There is no necessity for this prepara- 
tion, since the general introduction of the fluid extract into 

Syrupus Morpluce Sulpliatis. — The frequent prescriptions 
for a preparation under this name are at present variously dis- 
pensed by solutions of the salt in syrup, of the proportions, 
one grain to the fluid ounce, and one grain to four fluid ounces; 


there is also a mixed syrup and mucilage, containing this last 
proportion of morphia salt, much dispensed under the name of 
Jackson's Pectoral Syrup. In revising the Phannacojxxia a 
good opportunity is allowed to authorize a diluted morphia 
syrup, and thus introduce something like uniformity into prac- 
tice in this regard. We incline to the adoption of a com- 
pound syrup of morphia, with a formula similar to that of Prof. 
Jackson, published by A. B. Taylor, Am. Jour. Pharm., vol. 
xxiv., p. Z4:. This would also do to supersede syrup of pop- 
pies, which it much resembles. 


To the tinctures already officinal we propose to add the 
following : 

Tinctiira Arnica. — Take of arnica in powder, eight ounces, 
alcohol, sufficient. To the arnica introduced into a suitable ves- 
sel add sufficient alcohol to moisten it, then pack thoroughly 
in a displacement funnel ; cover the surface with a porous mate- 
rial, and pour on alcohol until two pints of tincture are ob- 
tained, care being taken that the percolat(5 does not pass fast- 
er than drop by drop, and that the last portion of the liquid is 
nearly destitute of the color and taste of the arnica. 

The use of strong alcohol seems to be indicated in the case 
of a tincture which is so extensively used as a stimulating 
liniment. It also has the advantage of extracting the essen- 
tial oil more perfectly, and is less contaminated with extract- 
ive matters souble in water than diluted alcohol used by 

Tinciura Cannabis Tndica. — This preparation, as officinal in 
the Dublin Pharmacopoeia, is so incompatible with aqueous 
liquids that we suggest to the Committee of Revision, should 
they determine upon making such a preparation officinal, to 
experiment with the different alkalies with a view to such an 
addition as would increase the solubility of Cannabin. 



An addition to this class is recommended, of Trochisci 
Ferri Carhonatis. For formula, see Parrisli's Pharmacy, 2d 
edition, p. 250. 

These lozenges are made by numerous pharmaceutists, and 
very extensively prescribed, affording a convenient method 
of dispensing one of the most useful of the salts of iron. 


JJnguentum AqvcB Rosce. — The officinal recipe makes too 
soft a preparation and lacking that elegance which is demand- 
ed in an ointment of the kind ; wc prefer that found in Par- 
risli's Pharmacy, 2d edition, p. 643. 

Unguentum Hijdrargyri Niimtis. — The use of neat's-foot 
oil is considered by many pharmaceutists quite unnecessary 
in this preparation, and we would suggest the substitution of 
lard oil as a more agreeable and accessible vehicle for the 
mercurial salt. 


Vinum Rhei and.Vhnim Tabac'i are almost obsolete. 


Zinci Chloridi. — This should be fused after evaporation to 
dryness. The present formula omits this direction. 

Zinci Valericmns. — This is, perhaps, the most used of the 
salts of valerianic acid. It should certainly be made ofBci- 
nal among the preparations, with a convenient formula. 

Your Committee are well aware that these strictures upon 
the Pharmacopoeia, and suggestions in regard to its revision, do 
not cover the whole ground, nor are they accompanied with 
those evidences of mature investigation that will commend 
them to more than a passing notice ; but they have deemed the 
work allotted to them one of suggestion, and not of legislation. 
In their individual capacity they will have further participa- 
tion in the labor of preliminary revision, and will be glad to 


urge the views of the Association, as far as they can be ascer- 
tained, ill the large Committees which will be engaged experi- 
mentally upon the processes of the Pharmacopoeia. 
Respectfully submitted, 

Edward Parrish, 
Israel J. Grahame, 
Charles T. Carney. 


List of Articles it is proposed to transfer from the Secondary to the 
Primary List: 

1. Arnica — Leopard's Bane. The flowers of Arnica Montana. 

2. Asarum — Wild Ginger (Canada Snake Root). The root of Asarum 

3. Cataria — Catnip. The leaves of Nepeta Cataria. 

4. Coptis — Goldthread. The root of Coptis Trifolia. 

5. Extractum Cannabis — Extract of Hemp. An alcoholic extract of 
dried tops of Cannabis Sativa, Yar. Indica. 

6. Filix Mas — Malefern. The rhizome of Aspidium Filix Mas. 

7. Heleanthemum — Frost Wort. The herb of Heleanthemum Canadense. 

8. Oleum Cajuputi — Oil of Cajeput. The volatile oil of the leaves of 
Melaleuca Cajuputis. 

9. Pareira — Pareira Brava. The root of Cissampelos Pareira. 

10. Salvia — Sage. The leaves of Salvia Officinalis. 

11. Sambucus — Elder Flowers. The flowers of Sambucus Canadensis. 

12. Scoparius — Broom. The fresh tops of Cytisus Scoparius. 

13. Macis — Mace. The anyllus of the fruit of Myristica Morchase. 

14. Marrubium — Horehound. The herb of Marrubium Yulgare., 

45. Matricaria — German Chamomile. The flowers of Matricaria Cham- 

16. Melissa — Balm. The herb of Melissa Officinalis. 


Acidum Laoticum — Lactic Acid (description and tests.) 

Acidum Phosphoricum — Glacial Phosphoric Acids (description and tests.) 

^ther (description and tests.) 

Alcohol Amylum — Fusel Oil (description and tests.) 

Ammonise Carbonas. 

Ammonias Sulphas. 

Aqua Flores Aurantii. 

Artemisia Contra (Levant Worm Seed,) or Sautonica Semen. 


Belladonna Radix. 

Caifea — Coffee. 

Capsicum Baccatum — Birdpepper. (Change Capsicum, as at present, to 
Capsicum Annuum. 

Chiretta — The herb and root of Agathotes Chirayta. 

Chloroformum (description and tests.) 

Gelseminum — Queen's Delight. Boot of Gelscminum Sempervirens. 

Glycerina — Glycerin. A peculiar sweet principle obtained from fats. 

Gossypii Radix — Cotton Root. The root of Gossypium Herbaceum, and 
of other species of G. 

Hydrastis Canadensis — Yellow Root. Golden Seal. The root of Hy- 
drastis Canadensis. 

Ignatia Amara — St. Ignatius Bean. The seeds of Strychnos St. Ignatise. 

Leptandra — Culver's Physic. The root of Leptandra Virginica. 

Lobelia Semen. 

Lycopodium — A peculiar powder from Lycopodium Clavatum, and other 

Oleum Adipis — Lard Oil. The fluid portion of lard, separated by 

Oleum vEthereum — Ethereal Oil. With description. 

Oleum Camphorte — Oil of Camphor. With description. 

Oleum Succini — Oil of Amber (with description, from the preparations.) 

Saccharum Lactis — Sugar of Milk. Lacten. The peculiar sugar ob- 
tained from milk. 

Spiritus Lauri Folise — Bay Rum. The distilled spirit from bay leaves. 

Vanilla — Vanilla Beans. The prepared unripe Capsules of Vanilla 

Amygdala Persica — Peach Leaves. The leaves of Amygdalas Persica. 


Achillea Millefolium — Millefoil. Yarrow. 
Angelica Archangelica — Angelica Root. 
Baptisia Tinctoria — Wild Indigo. The herb. 
Berberis Vulgare — Barberry. The root. 
Caulophyllum Calactroides. Blue Cohosh. The root. 
Corydalis Formosa — Turkey Corn. The tubers. 
Cucurbita Pepo — Pumpkin Seeds. 
Cyprepedium Pubescens — Nerve Root. 
Epigea Repens — Trailing Arbutus. 
Euonymus Atropurpureus- — -Wahoo. Bark. 
Eupatoreum Purpureum — Gravelroot. Ironweed. 
Hydrangea Arborescens — Hydrangea Root. 
Myrica Cereca — Bayberry Bark. 
Rubus Ideajus — Raspberries. The fruit. 
Rumex Crispus — Yellow Dock. The root. 




This process, which is frequently directed throughout the Pharmacopoeia, 
is a rapid and effectual method of extracting the soluble principles from 
drugs. It consists in subjecting a porous material, in powder, to the solvent 
action of successive portions of a liquid, called a menstruum. The necessary 
apparatus consists of a lube or furmel to contain the powder, and a vessel, 
either graduated, or of known capacity, to receive the liquid, which, as it 
passes from the tube, is called the percolate. Different substances, from 
their varying porosity and solubility, require that the process should be varied, 
and, accordingly, the directions are specific in each case, the fineness of the 
powders being indicated by the number of meshes to the linear inch in the 
sieves through which they are to be passed ; the quantity of the menstruum 
to be added before packing in the apparatus, and the subsequent details of the 
process being also carefully indicated. 


{^Page 60 of the Pharmacopceia.] 

Acetum Colchici. — Vinegar of Colchicum. 
Take of Colchicum Root, (recently dried), in powder, No. 50, 2 ounces. 
Diluted Acetic Acid, . . a sufficient quantity. 

Dampen the powder, by rubbing uniformly through it half an ounce of the 
diluted acetic acid ; pack with moderate firmness in a glass displacer ; cover 
the surface with coarse cotton or linen cloth, or perforated porous paper; pour 
on acetic acid until two pints of liquid pass, then filter through paper, and 
keep it in a cool place. 

Acetum Opii. — Vinegar of Opium. (Black Drop.) 
Take of Opium, in powder, No. 50 . . . 4 ounces. 

Nutmeg, in powder, No. 50 . . .6 drachms. 

Saffron, in powder. No. 50 . . . 2 drachms. 

Sugar, in powder . . . .6 ounces. 

Diluted Acetic Acid, a sufficient quantity. 

Mix intimately with the powders an equal bulk of saw dust passed through 
a No. 50 sieve, and digested in alcohol, and put the whole, dry, into a "-lass 
funnel displacer ; arrange the powder level with very little pressure ; cover the 
surface with perforated filtering paper, and pour on it diluted acetic acid. 
When ten fluid ounces of liquid shall have passed, put it aside ; continue the 
percolation until the fluid which passes is nearly free from taste ; evaporate this 
latter portion of liquid in a water bath to four fluid ounces, to which add two 
drachms of acetic acid, and mix with the ten fluid ounces first obtained; then 
heat the whole in a glass or porcelain vessel nearly to ebullition. When cold, 


filter throu.2;h paper, and to the filtered solution add the sugar, and agitate 

occasionally until dissolved. If the product should not measure seventeen 

fluid ounces, make it up to that quantity by the addition of diluted acetic 

Acidum SuJplmricum Aromaticmn. — Aromatic Sulphuric Acid. 
(Elixir of Vitriol.) 
Take of Sulphuric Acid .... f ounces iiiss. 

Ginger, in powder. No. 50 . . . ounce j. 

Cinnamon, in powder. No. 50 . . ounces iss. 

Alcohol . . . . . q. s. . 

Mix the acid gradually with two pints of alcohol, and allow the mixture to 
cool. Having mixed the ginger and cinnamon, dampen them with about 
f ounce ss. of the acid liquid, and pack them with moderate firmness in a 
glass funnel displacer ; cover the surface with perforated filtering paper or 
other porous material, and pour on the remainder of the a:id liquid. When 
it ceases to drop, pour on sufficient alcohol to displace the liquid retained by 
the dregs. ' 

Ceratum Calamina. — Calamine Cerate. (Turner's Cerate.) 
Take of Prepared Calamine .... ounces iij. 

Yellow Wax ..... ounces iiiss. 
Lard ..... ounces x ss. 

Olive Oil ..... f ounce j. 

Peruvian Balsam . . . . f ounce ss. 

Melt together the lard and wax, to which, removed from the fire, add the 
calamine, previously triturated with the olive oil until a perfectly smooth 
paste is produced ; stir them well together, and when nearly cool, add the 
Peruvian balsam, and continue the stirring to completion. 

Ceratum Plumbi Subacetatis. — Cerate of Subacetate of Lead. 
(Goulard's Cerate.) 

Take of Lard . ... ounces Tiij. 

White Wax ..... ounces iv. 

Peruvian Balsam .... drachms ij. 

Solution of Subacetate of Lead . . f ounces iiss. 

Camphor ..... drachm ss. 

Olive Oil ..... f ounce ss. 

Melt together the lard and wax, and stir them constantly until nearly cool ; 
then add gradually the solution of subacetate of lead, and continue the stirring 
until cool. Lastly, add the camphor, dissolved in the oil and Peruvian 
balsam, and mix. 


Ceralum Salmce. — Savin Cerate. 
Take of Savin, in powder, No. 50 . two ounces. 

Alcohol . . . .a sufficient quantity. 

Lard .... seven ounces and a half. 

Resin . . . .an ounce and a half. 

Yellow Wax . . . three ounces. 

To the savin, suitably moistened with alcohol and packed tightly into a 
displacement funnel, add sufficient alcohol to recover six fluid ounces of per- 
colate ; evaporate this spontaneously, or by a temperature below its boiling 
point, to two fluid ounces. Melt together the lard, resin and wax, and stir 
them constantly till nearly cool ; then add the concentrated tincture of savin, 
and continue the stirring to completion. 

Ceralum Saponis. — Soap Cerate. 
Take of Lead Plaster ..... ounces vj. 

White Wax ..... ounces iij. 

Olive Oil ..... f ounces x. 

White Castile Soap, in fine powder . . ounces iiss. 

Peruvian Balsam .... ounces ss. 

Melt together, at a moderate temperature, the lead plaster, white wax and 
one half the olive oil; then add the soap previously triturated with the 
remainder of the oil ; stir them well together until nearly cool, and add lastly 
the Peruvian balsam, and mix.* 

Confectio Rosce. — Confection of Roses. 

Take of Red Roses, in powder, No. 50 . . ounces iv. 

Refined Sugar, in powder . . . ounces xxx. 

Clarified Honey .... ounces iv. 

Diluted Alcohol . . . . . q. s. 

Oil of Roses . . . . . vi. m. 

Dampen the powder of roses with a portion of the diluted alcohol, and pack 
with moderate firmness in a glass funnel displacer; cover the surface with 
perforated filtering paper, and pour on diluted alcohol ; reserve the first one 
and half ounces of liquid which pass; continue the percolation until 
twelve fluid ounces more pass, or to exhaustion ; reduce this by water bath 
at a temperature under 1 75° Fahr., to two fluid ounces, and having mixed 
this with the portion first obtained, add the oil of roses, and mix them. Trit- 
urate this with the sugar, add the honey, and beat the whole together until 
they are thoroughly mixed. 

* See paper of I. J. Grahame, proceedings of 1858, p. 217. 



Confeclio Sennce. — Confection of Senna. (Lenitive Electuary.) 

Take of Pulp of Purging Cassia, with seeds . . ounces iv. 

Tamarinds ..... ounces viij. 

Prunes, without seeds .... ounces iv. 

Senna, in powder, No. 50 . . . ounces iv. 

Figs, sh'ced ..... ounces \]. 

Coriander, in powder. No. 60, recently prepared ounces jj. 

Sugar ..... ounces xiv. 

Alcohol, Water, each . . . . q. s. 

Pour on the pulp of purging cassia, prunes and tamarinds, sufficient boiling 
water to thoroughly soften them ; rub them through a hair sieve, to separate 
the pulp ; if necessary treat the residue in the sieve in like manner, and mix 
with the previous portion; reserve the pulp thus made. Prepare a mens- 
truum of one measure of alcohol, and three of water, of which pour f drachms 
ix. on the powdered senna, and rub uniformly through it, so as to dampen it ; 
arrange the dampened powder in a glass funnel for displacement, using 
very slight pressure ; pour on the menstruum, and reserve the first six fluid 
ounces which pass ; continue the percolation until f ounces xviij. more 
pass ; evaporate this over a water bath to a syrupy consistence ; add the six 
tluld ounces first obtained, and continue the evaporation until reduced to 
f ounces iij., in which dissolve ounces iij. of the sugar, and mix with the 
prepared pulps. Boil the figs with two pints of water until reduced to 
f ounces xij. ; then press out the liquor, strain and evaporate in a water 
bath to f ounces vj., to which add the remainder of the sugar, and make a 
syrup ; stir into this the mixture of senna and pulps, and evaporate by means 
of a water bath to the proper consistence ; lastly, throw in the powdered 
coriander, and mix them all well together. 

Emplai^trum Ammoniaci cum Hydrargrjro. — Plaster of Ammoniac with 


Take of Ammoniac ..... ounces viij. 
Mercury ..... ounces iv. 

Resin Plaster .... ounces v. 

Glycerin . . . . . f. drachms iij. 

Water . . . . . q. s. 

Having reduced the ammoniac to a coarse powder, triturate one-fourth of 
it with the glycerin and a little water, so as to form a smooth paste, add the 
mercury, and continue the trituration, adding a little water from time to time, 
as mav be necessary, until globules are no longer visible. Triturate the remain- 
der of the ammoniac, with sufficient water to form a smooth paste, the whole 
to be well mixed and transferred to a water bath ; the resin plaster, previ- 
ously melted, to be now added, and the mixture suffered to remain in the 
water-bath until all moisture is dissipated. 


Emplastrum Opii. — Opium Plaster. 
Take of Opium, in powder, (Xo. 50) . . . ounces ij. 

Burgundy Pitch .... ounces iij. 

Lead Plaster ..... ounces xij. 

Water . . . . . q. s. 

Mix the powdered opium with an equal bulk of sawdust, of the same fine- 
ness ; put the dry powder into a glass funnel, arranged for displacement; level 
it with very little pressure, and cover the surface with perforated filtering 
paper, then pour on water and displace to-^xhaustion ; evaporate the liquor 
until reduced to a syrupy consistence, and, having previously melted together 
the burgundy pitch and lead plaster, mix this with the melted mass, and main- 
tain in a water-bath until all moisture is dissipated. 

Ext. Aconiti Alcoliolicum. — Alcolwlic Extract of Aconite. 
Take of Aconite leaves, recently dried, in powder, (No. 50) ounces xij. 
Alcohol ..... ounces xviij. 

Diluted Alcohol . . . . . q. s. 

Dampen the powdered leaves with the alcohol, and transfer to a suitable 
displacer : pack it with gentle pressure, and cover the surface with jierforated 
filtering paper. Pour on the remainder of the alcohol, and when it ceases to 
drop, pour on diluted alcohol, and when f. ounces xviij., or the alcoholic por- 
tion, has passed, put it aside for spontaneous evaporation until reduced to 
f. ounces iij.; continue the yercolation with diluted alcohol to exhaustion, 
evaporate this in a water-bath maintained at a temperature not exceeding 
160° F., until reduced to a syrupy consistence; then reduce the temperature 
of the bath to 120° F., add the alcoholic solution and evaporate to the proper 

Prepare in like manner with the above : 

Alcoholic Extract of Belladonna 
Alcoholic Extract of Conium 
Alcoholic Extract of Hyoscyamus 
Alcoholic Extract of Sarsaparilla. 
Extractum Cinchonce Flavce. — Extract of Yellow Bark. 
Take of Yellow Bark, in powder, (No. 50^ . . ounces xij. 

Alcohol ..... four pints. 

Water, a sufficient quantity. 
Dampen the powdered bark with a portion of the alcohol, and pack it 
firmly in a suitable displacer ; cover the surface with perforated paper, and 
pour on the remainder of the alcohol, when the liquid ceases to drop ; pour 
on water until four pints of liquid or the alcoholic solution has passed, set it 
aside, and continue the percolation with water, until exhausted. Distil 
off the alcohol from the tincture, and evaporate the aqueous solution till the 
liquids respectively are brought to the consistence of thin honey ; then mix 
them and evaporate so as to form an extract. 


In the same manner prepare 

Eiclractum Cinchonce Ruhrce. — Extract of Red Bark. 
From red bark, in powder, (No. 50) 

Extractmn Jalap. — Extract of Jalap. 
Take of Jalap, in powder, (No. 50) . . . ounces xij. 

Alcohol ..... oiiss. 

Diluted alcohol (alcohol 2 parts, water 3) q. s. 
Dampen the powder with a portion of the alcohol, and pack it with moder- 
ate pressure in a suitable displacer, cover the surface with perforated filter- 
ing paper, and pour on the remainder of the alcohol, when the liquid ceases 
to drop ; pour on the diluted alcohol, and when two and a half pints of liquid 
or the alcoholic solution has passed, put it aside. Continue the percolation 
with the diluted alcohol until three pints more of liquid pass. Evaporate 
the two liquids separately until reduced to a syrupy consistence ; then mix 
them and evaporate so as to form an extract. 

Prepare in like manner 

Extr actum PodopliyUi. — Extract of May Apple. 

Extractmn Opii. — Extract of Opium. 
Take of Opium, in powder, (No. 50) . . ounces xij. 

Water, a sufficient quantity. 
Mix the opium intimately with an equal bulk of prepared sawdust, and 
arrange the dry powder in a suitable displacer, using slight pressure ; cover 
the surface with perforated filtering paper, and pour on water until the dis- 
placed liquid has little taste of the opium. Evaporate the solution in a water 
bath to the proper consistence. 

Extractum RJiei. — Extract of Rhuhari. 
Take of Rhubarb, in powder, (No. 50) . . ounces xij. 

Alcohol .... 7 parts. 

Water . . . . .1 part. 

Mix the alcohol anc? water in the above proportions, and dampen the rhu- 
barb with a small portion of the menstruum ; transfer to a suitable displacer, 
and having compressed it moderately, cover the surface with perforated filter- 
ing paper, then pour on the menstruum, and when f. ounces xij. shall have 
passed, set aside for spontaneous evaporation until reduced one half Con- 
tinue the percolation until the liquid comes away nearly tasteless. Evaporate 
this portion of liquid in a porcelain dish, by means of a water bath, at a tem- 
perature not exceeding 160° F., until reduced to nearly a syrupy consist- 
ence, add the first portion and continue the evaporation at the same tempera- 
ture until reduced to the proper consistence. Avoid in its preparation the 
use of an iron spatula. 


Exlractum Taraxaci. — Extract of Dandelion. 

Take of Taraxacum root, gathered in September, and re- ) 

\ ° ' ' y ounces xvj. 

cently dried, in powder, (No. 50). . ) 

Diluted Alcohol (alcohol 5 parts, water 3) . q. s. 

Dampen the powder with the diluted alcohol, transfer to a suitable displacer, 
and having compressed it moderately, cover the surface with perforated filter- 
ing paper, then pour on the diluted alcohol ; reserve the first pint of liquid 
which passes, and continue the percolation to exhaustion. Evapoi'ate the last 
obtained liquid to a thin syrupy consistence, then add the reserved solution, 
and continue the evaporation until reduced to the proper consistence. 

Ext. Tarax. Fluida. — Fluid Extract of Taraxacum. 

Take of Taraxacum Root, gathered in September, and ) 

' '^ /-VT r ounces xvi. 

recently dried, in powder, (No. 50) ) 

Diluted Alcohol (alcohol 5 parts, water 3 parts) q. s 

Sac. Alb. ..... ounces vij. 

Dampen the powder with four fluid ounces of the diluted alcohol, and 

transfer to a glass displacer ; compress it moderately and cover the surface 

with perforated porous paper, then pour on the diluted alcohol and percolate 

to exhaustion, reserving six fluid drachms from the first half pint of liquid. 

Filter the tincture and evaporate it in a water bath at a temperature of 160° 

F., until reduced to twelve fluid ounces, to which add the sugar, and when 

dissolved strain. Finally, add the reserved tincture. The product should 

measure sixteen fluid ounces. 


The Committee upon the subject of Home Adulterations, 
appointed at the annual meeting of this Association, held in 
Washington last year, respectfully report : 

That the subject placed in their hands has received, as it 
deserves, careful consideration. 

The cooperation of our pharmaceutical brethren from all 
parts of our country has been solicited, and your Committee 
take pleasure in stating that the interest shown by our mem- 
bers in this subject proves that it is a matter worthy of all the 
time and care bestowed upon it, from year to year, by the 


The matter of adulteration is one that appeals to every per- 
son strongly. Viewed in the best light we can place it, that 
of a mere matter of dollars and cents, it even then meets with 
the condemnation of those wlio are only conscious of the 
wickedness of the practice by being touched in their most sen- 
sitive region — the pocket. 

For although some do say that mixing rice flour with cream 
of tartar, and chicory with coffee, is a ^' harmless^' sophistication, 
still, when they are obliged to pay the price of " Best Old 
Mocha," for chicory, and forty cents a pound for rice flour, then 
the enormity of the offence is at once apparent. 

Before presenting to the Association such specimens of adul- 
terations and sophistications as your Committee have to offer, 
it will be well, perhaps, to give an explanation as to what con- 
stitutes an adulteration. For the best definition of an 
adulteration we are indebted to Dr. Hassall, of London. He 
says : The sale of one article in place of another is not an 
adulteration, but a substitution. The presence of sub- 
stances in articles, in consequence of impurities contained 
in the materials out of which they were prepared, as, for 
example, arsenic in the hydrochloric acid used in the prepara- 
tion of unfermented bread, does not constitute adulteration; 
they are simply impurities. Lastly, the accidental presence of 
substances in any commodity does not constitute an adultera- 
tion. Excluding, then, from the class of adulterations all cases 
of substitution, impurities, and accidental contaminations, adul- 
teration may be thus defined : It consists in the intentional 
addition to an article, for the purpose of gain, or deception, of 
any substance or substances, the presence of which is not 
acknowledged in the name under which the article is sold. 

Your Committee feel that perhaps they may bring forward 
some facts, not in all cases agreeable, and that they may be 
met with the oft repeated statement that " the public the 
adulterated articles," that " pure mustard and cream of tartar 
will not sell," coffee with burnt peas and apples in it is "rich- 


er," and more " nutritious," but we feel constrained to say 
this pretended regard for the wishes and tastes of the " pub- 
lic " is most generally based upon a slight interest for the 
pecuniary welfare of the manufacturer or trader. 

The public do not wish adulterated articles; ^vere they once 
aware of the real difference between pure and the impure 
articles they would not hesitate a moment in their choice : 
could they but see the peas and beans roasted for best " old 
Mocha," the sulphate of soda for "cream tartar" the turmeric 
for "mustard," the alum for "bread," and the sulphuric acid for 
" vinegar," your Committee feel that very soon the lucrative 
portion of the adulterator's business would pass away, leaving 
him with a reputation far from enviable. 

It is not only in articles of food, but in medicines also, 
that this practice prevails, and your Committee have felt that 
upon this part of the subject they should bestow a large por- 
tion of their investigations. 

Science is never so noble as when engaged in advancing 
those arts which promote health or mitigate the sufferings of 
humanity ; but when it is prostituted to ignoble purposes, and, 
in direct opposition to the relieving of suffering, is engaged in 
sophisticating with a cunning and well concealed hand those 
very articles which the physician relies upon for promoting 
and restoring health, then indeed it is deserving of condem- 

Yery many of the adulterations of the present day exhibit a 
knowledge of science worthy a better cause ; many of them 
are decidedly pernicious, and serious results have followed 
their use; of such we may instance the employment of poison- 
ous pigments for the colored confections, lead in snuff and in 
Cayenne pepper, copper in pickles, and cocculus indicus and 
nux vomica in beer and ale. 

Your Committee would/efer to any of the works published 
in France or England, devoted to the exposure of the frauds in 
food and medicine, for evidence, were it needed, of the great 


interest felt in this subject by scientific men ; and they cannot 
better illustrate the necessity of these investigations than by 
giving a short list of those articles of food which have been 
proved to be adulterated and the substances used for the pur- 
pose. Many of these have been met with by your Committee, 
and some of them are described by Doctor ITassall in his 
work, on " The Adulterations of Food and Medicine." 

The articles we specially refer to are as follows : 

Colored Confectionery — Adulterated with emerald or 
Scheele's green, arsenite of copper. 

Beer — with cocculus indicus and nux vomica. 

Pickles and Bottled Fruits — with verdigris and sulphate of 

Custard Powders — with chromatc of lead. 

Tea and Snuff — with the same. 

Cayenne aud Curry Powder — with red oxide of lead. 

Sugar Confectionery — with gamboge, orpiment, or sulphu- 
ret of arsenic, and chloride of copper. 

Flour and Bread — with hydrated sulphate of lime, plaster 
of Paris, and alum. 

Vinegar — with sulphuric acid. 

Sugar — with sand and plaster of Paris. 

Milk — with chalk, sheeps' brains, ground turmeric. 

Arrow Root — with ground rice. 

Chocolate — with rice flour, potato starch, gum tragacanth, 
cinnibar, bals. peru, red ox. mercury, red lead, carb. of lime, 
and tlie red ochres to bring up the color. 

Mustard — with ground turmeric, to give it a brilliant color. 

Butter — with potato starch, mutton tallow, carbonate of 
lead, and sugar of lead. 

That it would be right to make public the persons who are 
directly engaged in. the practice of adulteration, we feel that 
few would deny; but your Committee refrain from pursuing 
this course at present, suggesting, however, to the Association, 
the propriety of taking some measures fo'r exposing those who 
make it a regular matter of business. 


It is, perhaps, our duty to be more explicit in this matter 
as to what parties are guilty of the adulterations, but your 
Committee know that all classes of trade, — manufacturer, job- 
ber, and retailer, — are sometimes implicated in these frauds. 

Certain kinds of adulterations and sophistications are prac- 
tised upon so large a scale as to be beyond the small dealer; 
they involve the use of extensive machinery which the ordi- 
nary tradesman does not possess. 

It was once the practice for the druggists to systematically 
add to all drugs certain amounts of saw-dust, oatmeal, and 
other substances of less value than the article in its purity, to 
make good the loss by drying and powdering. The average 
loss was considered to be about four per cent., and as this 
amount was added to compensate, it was known as the ''four 
per cent, system." The practice under this name was princi- 
pally confined to England, but from specimens with which 
your Committee have, from time to time, met, it is apparent 
that a practice somewhat similar exists, occasionally, on this 
side the water. 

Your Committee feel also that the tradesman is sometimes 
a party to the fraud, although he may not be the actual mixer. 
He often purchases of the wholesale dealer an article which 
he knows cannot be pure, from the price asked; he is willing, 
however, to stretch his elastic conscience round the apparent 
discrepancy, and, as one of the members of your Committee has 
been told by a retail apothecary, if the jobber told him an arti- 
cle was pure, although he knew it was not, he should consider 
the jobber as having taken the responsibility, and should buy 
and sell the article with a clear conscience. 

Your Committee do not appreciate this kind of a conscience, 
and trust our profession is not graced with many such. It is 
our duty as pharmaceutists to do all in our power to put an 
end to this pernicious system of adulteration, using our 
influence against a practice which, in the language of another, 
"is undermining the very foundation of trade, namely, /azVA in 
commercial integrity. ^^ 


In England the matter of pecuniary loss to the government 
has been taken into consideration, and from careful estimates 
the revenue suffers by adulteration to the extent of two mil- 
lions annually ! The author of " Food of London " states that 
half the national revenue is derived from articles of consump- 
tion. " If the government loses so much, the public sufiers a 
much greater loss." 

This subject of home adulteration, then, is one worthy of 
attention by state and public officers, even as a question of 
pecuniary moment only. 

As a matter relating to public health, this subject is wor- 
thy careful attention ; very many of the adulterations prac- 
tised upon food and medicine are said to be " harmless in 
themselves;" but we have seen that in a pecuniary point of 
view at least they are not so. Ycry many instances are on 
record, however, where not only serious but fatal results to 
health have followed the use of adulterated articles. 

During the past year your Committee have met with very 
many instances of fraud and deception in drugs ; some of these 
are very curious, and are worthy of a place in a report of this 

During the past year, in a wood-turner's shop in Boston, 
was seen more than a barrel of East India rhubarb, which was 
being turned down into "true Turkey." 

This rhubarb was sold for genuine and real Turkey rhubarb. 

A druggist was applied to by a man for a situation as porter 
in his store : 

" What can you do ? What have you been doing at your last 
place," were the questions asked. 

" Oh," replied the man, " I have done every thing about the 
store that was needed, until the past year. I have worked up 
stairs in the room making Turkey rhubarb." 

" Making Turkey rliubarb ! what do you mean by that ? " 

" Why," replied the man, " we used to take the East India 
andjilc it and horc it into true Turkey." 

The man was not cnt>;ao;ed. 


Both of these, it may be remarked, are merely instances 
grateful to those who urge that " most of the adulterations are 
harmless,''' but they must appeal with considerable force to those 
who arc sensitive as to the mere value of an article in dollars 
and cents, for East India rhubarb at 90c. per lb., transformed 
into "true Turkey " at $4 50 per lb., is certainly a touching 
instance of the mutability of earthly things, — especially drugs. 

There is one more aspect in which this subject of adultera- 
tions is to be considered, and that is the moral bearings of the 
practice. It is not possible for an adulterator to be a strictly 
honest man. The practice not only makes those guilty of it 
dishonest, but it also causes distrust on the part of those who 
buy ; confidence in the integrity of the seller is lost by those 
who purchase, and not only do the guilty, but the honest 
traders sufier : in fact, the standard of morality and business 
integrity is lowered, and the innocent sufier with the guilty. 

The truly upright man who cannot conscientiously adopt 
the practice of his competitors, how fares it with him ? 

He struggles alone, selling pure articles at a smaller profit 
than those who are less scrupulous : he is discouraged, and well 
he may be oftentimes ; and were it not for the proud con- 
sciousness of right doing, he would become disheartened, less 
honest, and finally adopt the practices he formerly condemned. 

The practice of adulteration, then, is one deserving con- 
demnation, because prejudicial to public health, honesty, and 
morality, and, in a pecuniary view, as occasioning a loss to the 
public and the government. 

If we admit the truth of the statement of Dr. Normandy, 
and very few will question it, we can see to how great an 
extent the practice has advanced. He says: "Adulteration is 
a wide-spread evil, which has invaded every branch of com- 
merce. Everything which can be mixed or adulterated, or 
debased in any way, is debased." 

Your Committee submit herewith a brief list of drugs found 
to be adulterated, and the articles used for the purpose. 


Many of the substances referred to in tins list are taken 
from " Chevalier's Dictionary of Alterations and Falsifica- 

Acetate of morphia, is adulterated with acetate and phos- 
phate of lime. 

Benzoic acid, with asbestos, carbonate and sulphate of lime, 
hippuric acid and sugar. 

Citric acid, with oxalic and tartaric acids, and sulphate of 
lime. It often contains sulphuric acid and salts of lead or 
copper. In 1850, M. Peunes discovered the presence of lead 
in this acid, obtained of three highly respectable dealers. 
The acid was very white, and was intended to prepare the 
purgative lemonade. 

Tartaric acid, with cream of tartar, acid sulphate of potassa 
and with lime. 

Aloes, with colophony, ochre, extract of licorice, gum arable, 
and calcined bones. 

Starch, with carbonate and sulphate of lime or alabaster; 
the more common fraud is, however, to saturate it with 

Arrow root, with potato starch, and rice flour. 

Assafoetida, with gum retins of poorer quality, with sand, 
and other hard substances. 

Balsam Copaiva, with the resinous extract by decoction of 
the bark and branches of copaiba trees, turpentine, colophony, 
and fat oils. 

Balsam Peru, with colophony, turpentine, benzoin resin, 
alcoiiol, and fixed oils. 

Balsam Tolu, with turpentine, colophony, and other resins. 

Chloroform, with chlorhydric ether, hypochlorous acid, 
hydro-carbonated oils, compounds of methyle and aldehyde, 
and fixed substances. 

Beeswax, with resin, burgundy pitch, earthy matter, flowers 
of sulphur, starch and amylaceous substances, tallow, stearic 
acid, yellow ochre, calcined bones, and sawdust. 


Tart, emetic, with cream tartar, oxide of antimony, tartrate 
of iron, chlor-calcium and potassium, and sometimes is con- 
taminated with salts of copper and tin. 

Essential oils, with alcohol and fixed oils. 

Iodide potassium, with chloride potassium and soldium, and 
calcium, carbonate of potassa, and bromide o^ potassium. The 
latter salt being sometimes in so large a proportion, owing to 
its lesser price, as to rejilace, almost entirely, the iodide. 

Manna, with glucose, or starch sugar and starch. The large 
flake manna is sometimes made from a mixture, consisting of a 
little manna, flour, honey, and a purgative powder ; these are 
boiled together to a syrupy consistence, and then moulded in 
form of " flakes ; " common " sorts manna " has been converted 
into " flake " by being boiled in water, clarified with charcoal, 
and moulded into proper form. 

It is possible to extend this list, but your Committee feel that 
enough has been already brought forward to establish the fact, 
were proof necessary, that very many articles depended upon 
as medicines to restore health, m&j he, becaiise adulterated, highly 
pernicious and even fatal in their effects. 

Your Committee propose to offer, in concluding this report, 
already perhaps extended beyond its limits, a few specimens 
of adulterations and substitutions which have come to their 
knowledge the past year, and to give the simpler tests by 
which they maybe detected. 

First we ask your attention to the 


Specimen No. 1 is Western Alcohol. A barrel of this was 
sold for '' Atwood's Alcohol." A very simple examination 
proves it to be loaded with grain oils, and thus exposes the 
fraud at once. The simplest way to detect the grain oils, is 
to treat the suspected sample with an equal volume of concen- 
trated sulphuric acid ; if grain oils are present, the mixture 
becomes darker colored, owing to their carbonization. Also 
they may be detected by solution of nitrate of silver j expose 


the alcoliol, to which this solution has been added, to the action 
of sunlight, or diffuse daylight — if grain oils are present, "a 
black precipitate subsides after some little time. This change 
does not occur if the alcohol is pure. 

Specimen No. 2 is an Oil, principally Linseed, which was 
sold for true " English oil of sweet almonds." The physical 
characteristics and the temperature required for congelation, 
serve to detect this fraud. Linseed oil remains fluid at zero, 
while true oil almonds congeals above that temperature. 

Specimen No. 3 is false Oil of Bitter Almonds. This was 
purchased with the label of a well known English house upon 
it, and was sold as " true essential Oil of Bitter Almonds." 
It is the article known as ''Essence de Mirban," or Nitro-Ben- 
zole, and may be detected very easily. 

When a mixture of 1 volume true essential oil almonds, 2 
volumes of alcohol, and 1 volume of very weak solution of 
potassa, mixed well together, is allowed to stand, it is con- 
verted into benzoic acid in from 24 to 48 hours. 

The fictitious oil (nitro benzole) is not capable of under- 
going this change. 

Specimen No. 4 is fictitious Tapioca. This article purports 
to be the fecula of Jatropha manihot, or cassava. It is not, 
however, what it appears, and is proved to be, by microscopi- 
cal examination, entirely a fictitious article, made from potato 
starch, and does not contain one particle of real Tapioca. 
This article is made in Liverpool, England, and imported into 
New York. 

Your Committee cannot refrain from recommending the use 
of the microscope as being a very valuable aid to the pharma- 
ceutist. By this instrument he is enabled to detect at once, 
frauds which perhaps might be previously unsuspected, partic- 
ularly in articles of food, as in the instance just brought to 
your notice. 

Specimen No. 5 is Melarabo or Matias Bark. — This bark 
is largely used for grinding with all kinds of spices. For a 


further description, we refer to Prof. Procter's Journal of 
Pharmacy, vol. 29th, pp. 103 and 215, where the nature and 
characteristics of this bark are very fully set forth by Messrs. 
Edward Parrish and Frank B. Dancy. Your Committee are 
not aware of other uses, to any extent, to which this bark is 
put, cxccp for adulterating sjjicca. 

The next articles to be considered are 


Specimen Xo. 1. — This is an adulterated article of cubebs 
with the false berry used for the purpose. These cubebs were 
purchased as a select and superior article; the fraud existing 
in them was not discovered for some time. The false berry 
is readily distinguished, however, as it is bi-lobed, while the 
cubeb is a single lobed berry. There exists in the lot of 
cubebs from which these were taken 15 per cent, of false ber- 
ries by iveight ; they are heavier than the cubebs, and are, on 
that account, easily added in sufficient amount to vitiate the 
quality of the drug without attracting notice. — Your Com- 
mittee have endeavored without success to ascertain the name 
of this false berry ; it appears to be inert and worthless, not 
possessed of any deleterious property other than that of re- 
ducing the strength of the powdered cubebs, which, in the 
amount present in sample under consideration, it does quite 

Specimen Xo. 2 is French Lycopodium, which is adulterated 
with the starch of some species* of lentil, apparently. The 
microscope reveals this adulteration at once, which otherwise 
might not be suspected. If treated with water and solution 
of iodine, the presence of starch may also be detected. This 
drug is often adulterated with starch, pulv. gypsum, and even 
box-wood powder. By separating with water the heavier 
adulterations, they can be examined and recognized, the wood 
powder can be separated by means of a sieve. 

The specimen under examination is part of a lot purchased 


in one pound bottles, with a French stamp and label upon it.. 
A portion of it having accidentally been wet, the starch 
became " musty," revealing its presence, otherwise unsuspect- 
ed. Subsequent examination, as above, furnished further 
proofs of its existence. 

Specimen No. 3 is Para Balsam Copaiva. — This contains 
from 6 to 8 per cent, of heavy or fat oil. 

Balsam Copaiva is very largely adulterated. It often con- 
tains the resinous extract by decoction of the branches and 
bark of the Copaifera, turpentine, colophony and fat oils, par- 
ticularly castor oil. The balsam adulterated vv^ith turpentine 
is not of so heavy consistence as the true balsam ; it is more 
viscid and sticks upon the sides of the bottles holding it. It 
may be easily proved whether turpentine is present or not, by 
simply beating a drop of the suspected balsam upon a sheet of 
glazed paper over a spirit lamp; the oil of copaiva is first 
volatized, and odor of the turpentine is at once apparent. 

Castor oil is the most dangerous adulterative, owing to the 
great similiarity between that and true balsam. This may be 
detected b^ mixing three parts of the suspected balsam with 
one part sulphuric acid, and shaking with 15 or 20 parts of 
alcohol of 36 deg. If the mixture separates, it indicates that 
the balsam is adulterated with castor oil : when pure, there is no 
separation. This test will detect not less than 1-9 th part of 

The presence of castor oil may also be detected by adding 
2 parts ammonia 22 deg. B^aume, to 5 parts suspected 
balsam, and shaking them together in a stopped bottle. The 
mixture becomes viscid and " ropy," but very soon clears it- 
self and becomes transparent, if pure. 

It is whitened by agitation, on the contrary, if it contains 
castor oil. The only precaution to be taken, however, is tliat 
the temperature of the mixture should be from 50 to 60 deg. 
Fah. ; above or below this point the result is inaccurate, as, 
from 68 to 76 deg. Fah. the mixture is transparent whether 


pure or adulterated, and at 32 to 40 deg. Fah. thcj^ure Balsam 
remains clouded. 

The Fixed Oils may be discovered by heating a drop or two 
of the balsam upon paper. If the balsam is pure, the volatile 
oil is driven off, leaving the resin homogeneous, transparent, 
and brittle ; if it contains heavy or fixed oil, the resin is sur- 
rounded by a greasy aureole and is less brittle. 

Finally, Balsam Copaiva is •' made up " of the fat oils, as 
poppy and rape seed, and turpentine. These mixtures, how- 
ever, would deceive only the inexperienced; in all cases 
ethereal alcohol (4 parts alcohol, 1 part ether) serves to re- 
cognize this fraud, this* liquid dissolving only the true balsam, 
leaving the foreign matters. 

Specimen No. 4 is Powdered Opium. This is a very poor 
spechnen of powdered opium. It was sold at a high price to 
a person not perfectly familiar with drugs, but to him it ap- 
peared so different from his idea of the article, that he re- 
quested an examination of it. It is found to contain less than 
three per cent, of impure morphia, which is but one-third or 
one-fourth the amount considered to be the standard yield by 
the United States Dispensary. It is evident that this powder 
of opium could scarcely fail to disappoint the expectations of 
the physician. What article is used for adulterating this, your 
Committee have not decided. It is possible that the opium 
was exhausted in part, before drying and powdering. 

Specimen No. 5 is Balsam of Tolu containing 16 per cent, 
common resin. Balsam of tolu is often adulterated with tur- 
pentine and various resins. It is easy to detect this fraud by 
the peculiar resinous odor which the adulterated article gives 
off when burnt. It may also be distinguished by testing with 
sulphuric acid. The concentrated acid added to the pure 
balsam gives a cherry red liquor without disengagement of 
sulphurous acid; the same acid added to balsam adulterated 
with resin, gives a blackish brown liquor with abundant dis- 
engagement of sulphurous acid. 


Specimen No. G is Powdered Tartar Emetic. This is 
largely contaminated with foreign bodies, containing as much 
as 21 per cent, of impurity. The impurity in it is doubtless 
owing to careless manufacturing; and as this article in pow- 
der is often made without proper and sufficient care being 
used in its manufacture, it is best for the pharmaceutist to 
buy none but the crystals, and being assured of their purity, 
powder them himself. 

The impurities most generally present in tartar emetic are 
uncombined cream of tartar, chloride of calcium, or potassium, 
and sulphate of potassa. It also sometimes contains, as acci- 
dental contaminations, iron and tin. The uncombined cream 
of tartar may be detected by an acid solution of acetate of 
lead; the solution is made of 32 parts distilled water, 8 parts 
cryst. acetate of lead, and 15 parts acetic acid of 9 deg. The 
presence of cream of tartar is shown by the white precipitate 
produced in a solution of tartar emetic on adding a small 
portion of the lead reagent. 

Chlorides of potassium or sodium, or chlorhydric acid, may 
be detected by their affording a white " curdy " precipitate, 
upon adding to a solution of tartar emetic a few drops solu- 
tion nitrate of silver. This white precipitate, if chloride of 
silver, should be entirely soluble in ammonia. 

This specimen under examination contains 8 per cent, of 

Sulphate of potassa may be detected by the white pre- 
cipitate, insoluble in nitric acid, which is afforded by solu- 
tion of chloride of barium, or nitrate of baryta. 

The specimen under examination contains 13 per cent, of 

Specimen No. 7 is Cream of Tartar. This article is one 
used largely both as a medicine, and in the preparation of 
food ; it is worthy of careful consideration, and your Commit- 
tee have given considerable attention to it. 

Cream of tartar is very largely adulterated. Some of the 


articles used for the purpose are in one sense harmless ; that 
is, not injurious to health; but many of them are decidedly 
pernicious, and all of them are to be condemned, because sold 
to deceive the community, and enrich the adulterator. 

Cream of tartar is adulterated with tartrate of lime, chalk, 
finely powdered white marble, sulphate of lime, sand, nitrate 
of potassa, alum, sulphate of soda and potassa, chloride of 
potassium. It has been found to contain, as impurities, iron, 
copper, lead, and arsenic. 

The addition of starch, arrow-root, and other amylaceous 
substances, is well known ; and the specimen under examina- 
tion is only remarkable from the fact that it contains 63.33 
per cent, of farinaceous substances as adulteration. 

This was sold as pure cream of tartar. The easiest way to 
detect the adulteration with starch of farinaceous substances, 
is by testing a cold solution of the cream of tartar with solu- 
tion of iodine. The characteristic blue "iodide of starch" 
will at once be apparent. 

If we treat the cream of tartar with boiling water, we dis- 
solve all soluble substances, leaving behind the tartrate of 
lime, quartz, clay, sand, sulphate of lime, and other insoluble 

Chalk or white marble may be discovered by the efferves- 
cence produced by the addition of a weak acid, as chlorhydric 
or nitric. 

Alum and sulphates of potassa or soda are shown to be 
present by the white precipitate, insoluble in nitric acid, pro- 
duced by solution of chloride of barium. If a precipitate 
is produced in the same solution by oxalate of ammonia, we 
know that lime is also present. Chloride of potassium is 
shown by the white " curdy " precipitate, entirely soluble in 
ammonia, formed by adding solution of nitrate of silver to the 
cream of tartar solution. 

The iron, lead, and copper come from the vessels of these 
metals, in which the cream of tartar is purified. 


The solution of cream of tartar, tested with tincture of 
galls, takes a hlaclc color if iron is present ; with ammonia, a 
hhie color if copper is present; with iodide potassium, a 
ijelloiv if lead is present. 

The presence of arsenic in cream of tartar, according to 
Dr. Bley, comes from the arsenical sulphnr used in the 
"mutage," or process for arresting fermentation in the '''must" 
of grapes, which consists of burning sulphur in the casks, 
thereby liberating sulphurous acid. The arsenic may be 
detected by Marsh's apparatus. 

Specimen No. 8 is Acid Sulphate of Soda. This is the 
residue from nitric acid manufacturing. The nitrate of soda, 
or Chili saltpetre is decomposed by sulphuric acid, and this 
article remains. It is largely used to adulterate cream of 
tartar ; and this 

Specimen No. 9 is one which contains this adulteration. 
This acid sulphate may be considered one of the injurious 

There is one drawback to its use, however, as a substitute 
for cream of tartar, and that is its deliquescence, or property 
of taking moisture from the atmosphere. It was once 
attempted to substitute it for cream of tartar in a " Yeast 
Powder," but after having been put up, the article was 
obliged to be withdrawn from the market, because it de- 
stroyed the cans. Query — Will the human stomach bear it 
better than a tin can ? 

Specimen No. 10 is the " great adulterator." This article, 
known by the above name, is selenitc or sulphate of lime. It 
is imported into New York, and there powdered for use. 

Specimen No. 11 is the "great adulterator " in its natural 
state, before being powdered. 

Specimen No. 12 is cream of tartar, Avliich is adulterated 
with the " great adulterator." As this substance is almost 
insoluble, any one can judge of the benefit to health that 
might arise from a long-continued use of the article in the 
daily food. 


The specimen of cream of tartar under examination con- 
tains 25 per cent, of the " great adulterator." 

Specimen No. 13 is a fatty residue from oil of lemon. This 
was obtained from a sample of oil of lemon of suspected 
purity, the last winter, and amounted to 22 per cent, of the 
whole weight of oil. In cold weather it has a butyraceous 
consistence, but as it now appears is more fluid. 

It is somewhat unusual to find an article of oil of lemon 
adulterated in this way; and your Committee would call the 
attention of pharmaceutists to this fact, as being evidence of a 
new practice in the way of fraud in this article. 

Specimen No. 14 is Capsicum, with adulteration of common 
salt. This can be detected by exhausting the pepper with 
water, evaporating to dryness and testing the residue by 
nitrate of silver for chlorine ; the soda imparts its character- 
istic color of yellow to flame of burning alcohol. 

Corrosive Sublimate sent from Kentucky was proved to be 
adulterated with chloride of sodium (common salt) by the 
usual tests. The sample was too small to estimate the 
amount of impurity present, and we cannot show a specimen 
of it, because it was all consumed in examination. 

Specimen No. 15. Lunar Caustic. This was sent from 
Kentucky also, having been purchased in New York, at a cost 
of $1.20 per oz., as a p2«-e article. A great imposition was 
practised, either by the seller or the manufacturer. Upon a 
careful examination it yielded only 14 per cent, of chloride of 
silver, equivalent to about 10 per cent, of metallic silver. Had 
it been pure nitrate it should have yielded 64 per cent, of 
metallic silver. 

Specimen No. 16. Piperiue. Adulterated with yellow 
prussiate of potassa. This fraud can be easily detected by 
testing a solution of the suspected pipcrine with a per-salt of 
iron. The blue reaction is instantly produced, caused by 
formation of ferro-cyanide of iron. 

This reaction taking place while combining a recipe in which 


the Piperine and a salt of iron was ordered, led to the detec- 
tion of the fraud, otherwise unsuspected. 

Flowers or Oxide of Zinc. All specimens examined, except 
some German proved to be merely the carbonate. 

Specimen No. 17. Oil of Bergamot. A lot of oil of ber- 
gamot, purchased at the market rates, and to all appearance a 
very fine article, proved to contain 30 per cent, of alcohol, by 
the usual test of the graduated tube and treatment with water. 

Specimen No. 18. Oil of Wormwood. As regards smell 
and taste, this oil is unexceptionable. Its specific gravity is 
so low as to excite suspicion, and it proves to be adulterated 
with ether upon a careful examination. 

This fraud can be easily detected by the low boiling point 
and specific gravity. 

One of the members of your Committee, who is acquainted 
with a gentleman formerly in the drug grinding business in New 
York, has been kindly furnished by him with some formulas 
by which " pure and genuine drugs " were prepared when he 
was employed at the mill referred to : 

Powdered Cape Aloes — Cape aloes dried, 100 lbs.; ship 
biscuit, 100 lbs. ; curcuma q. s. to color. 

Common Ginger — African ginger, 200 lbs. ; capsicum hulls, 
25 lbs. ; biscuit, 100 lbs. ; curcuma q. s. to color. 

Ipecac powdered — Ipecac, 100 lbs.; ship biscuit, 25 to 40 

Opium, powdered — Turkey opium, 50 lbs. ; Egyptian opium, 
25 lbs. ; biscuit, 40 lbs. 

Gamboge, powdered — Gamboge, 100 lbs. ; tartrate of lime, 
25 lbs. 

Socotrine Aloes are pure Bonaire, without adulteration. 

Cream of Tartar is adulterated with from 10 to G5 percent, 
of terra alba, or tartrate of lime, with about 3 per cent, tar- 
taric acid. 

Tartaric Acid, powdered — Tartaric acid 1000 ll)s.; alum, 
from 10 to 35 per cent. 


Scammony Aleppo, powdered — Virgin Scammouy, 30 lbs.; 
cocoa beans, 80 lbs. ; biscuit 30 lbs. ; lampblack, q. s. (sufficient 
quantity) to color. 

Bird Pepper, powdered — Chilies, 1000 lbs. ; rice, 800 to 
1200 l]}s. ; curcuma and Venetian red to color. 

Powdered Fenugreek — Fenugreek seeds, 1000 lbs. ; biscuit, 
1000 lbs. ; curcuma q. s. to color. 

East India Rhubarb, powdered — East India rhubarb, 100 
lbs.; English do., 60 lbs. 

English Rhubarb, powdered — English rhubarb, 100 lbs.; 
biscuit, 30 lbs. ; curcuma to color. 

Turkey Rhubarb, powdered — East India rhubarb, Turkey 
rhubarb, equal parts. 

The tartrate of lime referred to is more properly sulphate 
of lime with a small portion of tartrate. The ship biscuit is 
the hard and often worm-eaten cakes brought in by ships after 
a long voyage. 

Your Committee have noticed, in making a number of exam- 
inations of articles furnished by manufacturers, as acetic, nitric, 
muriatic acids, aqua ammonia, oxide of zinc, sub-carbonate of 
iron, and others, that but little attention is paid to the require- 
ments of the Pharmacopoeia, as every pharmaceutist can ascer- 
tain with but little trouble. 

"We think it important, and would suggest to this Associa- 
tion the propriety of calling special attention to this point; 
that while we haven standard, our manufacturers should furnish 
articles that can be depended upon for purity and for officinal 

In conclusion, your Committee express the hope that the 
effort made by them to awaken more of an interest in the 
subject of adulterations, may meet with favorable support from 
this Association. 

We feel tliat we have barely touched upon the subject ; very 
many instances of fraud and deception arc not alluded to ; but 
what we have said and done we trust may be for the benefit 



of the public and of our profession at large. We cannot take 
leave of the subject, however, without expressi:ig the satisfac- 
tion we feel as we refer to very many members of our profes- 
sion who strive to raise the standard of their business by 
discountenancing in every way in their power all fraud and 

The stigma of adulteration does not belong to the drug 
trade alone ; in fact, very many articles of food are systemat- 
ically and almost always adulterated, so that to obtain them 
in their absolute purity is almost the exception. Of such are 
the ground spices, coffees, &c. 

We are aware this is a strong assertion, but proof can be 
produced were it necessary. 

Of one article referred to, that of ground cofi'ee, we can give 
the formula by which it is made. 

This coffee put up in 1 lb. papers, and labelled " fine old 
Java," is made as follows : for every 100 pounds there are 60 
pounds of peas, 20 pounds of chicory, and 20 pounds of coffee. 

This compound sells for 12^ cents per pound, and any per- 
son can judge of the value of it as coffee, containing as it does 
but 20 per cent, of that substance. 

There are many upright and honorable men, however, who 
discountenance any such imposition upon the public, in all 
branches of trade, and we feel a proud satisfaction in referring 
to them, whether members of our profession or not; in oiir 
own ranks we know there are many on whom the public can 
rely, and in closing we can only urge upon this Association, 
once more, the importance of this subject, earnestly soliciting 
the hearty cooperation of every member to raise the standard 
of our profession, and as far as possible to discourage and 
expose fraud and deception. 

Charles T. Carney, A. P. Sharp, 
Edward R. Squibb, A. B. Taylor, 

On behalf of the Connuidce. 




INGTON, 1858. 



Having accepted at the annual meeting of the Association 
for 1858 the subject of Improved FormuIa3 for the Fluid Ex- 
tracts, I have occupied no inconsiderable portion of time in 
carrying on the investigations required in giving a rational 
solution to the questions involved. 

After some reflection it was determined to consider in groups 
the several drugs appropriate for fluid extracts, the generic 
character of which was to be derived from an analogy of com- 
position or of behavior with solvents, by which the same pro- 
cess could be employed for each member of a group ; leaving 
all those drugs which possessed some peculiarity of constitu- 
tion, rendering it necessary, to be treated by special process. 

In the formulae adopted, it has not been designed to retain 
in solution all the matter dissolved by the menstruum from each 
drug, as suggested by some; nor to reject all not usefully 
medicinal as sought by others ; but to extract as far as possible 
all the valuable ingredients, and to condense them into the 
required bulk, of an ounce to the fluid ounce, except in the 
oleoresins, in the way least calculated to injure their medicinal 
virtues and sensible qualities, leaving the resulting menstruum 
appropriate for retaining the active matter in solution. 


As regards the means for their preservation, from decompo- 
sition, alcohol and sugar have been employed, as the cases de- 
manded, and in a few instances acetic acid is added for special 
reasons. The process of percolation has been almost invari- 
ably used, as best adapted to effect the desired objects, and the 
formulae, both in manipulation and quantities, are based on the 
supposition that tliey are to be carried out in the shop or lab- 
oratory of the apothecary, and not on the large scale by the 

Where alcohol has been used as the agent for preservation, 
it has been employed in the form of the .first dense solution 
obtained in the percolation, regulating the quantity reserved 
for this purpose by the quantity of alcohol to be retained in 
the fluid extract, and evaporating the weaker liquors till 
reduced to a bulk sufficient to make up the required measure 
by an indirect heat of about 150° F. in an open vessel. 

When sugar has been employed as the preservative agent, 
it is added to the percolate before the completion of the evap- 
oration, so as to take advantage of the well ascertained solvent 
power of sugar in regard to resinous and apothemic matter. 

Anew class of oleoresinous fluid extracts has been suggested 
in which the stronger aromatics have been introduced, such as 
cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, &c., and which possess, for certain 
uses, very desirable advantages from their concentration. 

The number of oleoresins has been considerably increased 
on the ground that they represent their respective sources 
more completely, and in smaller bulks than any other form 
of fluid or semifluid extracts. For this reason also it is 
insisted that they should occupy a distinct position under the 
name of " Oleoresins," and thus avoid the necessity of making 
a discrepancy in the proportional strength of all those prepar- 
ations which go by the name of fluid extracts. 

In bringing forward so large a number of fluid extracts, it is 
not intended to recommend that all of them should be intro- 
duced into the Pharmacopoeia, but to afford sufficient scope in 


the choice to be made by the framers of that codex, assuming 
the processes to yield satisfactory products. 

Class First. 


Take of Aconite leaves in powder (No. 60*) 16 ounces, Troy. 
Alcohol. Water, of each a sufficient quantity. 

Mix two pints of alcohol with one of water, moisten the powder evenly with 
four fluid ounces of the mixture, pack it firmly in a percolator, and having 
covered the surface with a disc of clothf gradually pour on the same menstruum 
until three pints have passed ; reserve the first twelve fluid ounces, evaporate 
the remainder at 150° F. on a water bath to four fluid ounces, mix it with the 
reserved tincture, and after standing twenty-four hours filter through paper. 

In the same manner prepare 


From Belladonna leaves, in powder. 


From Buchu, in powder. No. 40. 


From Digitalis, in powder. 


From Henbane leaves, in powder. 


From Matico, in powder. 


From Thorn Apple leaves, in powder. 


From Valerian, in powder. 
Remarks. — In this class are placed the narcotic leaves, and certain oleo- 
resinous substances. Aconite and Valerian will represent them. When these 
substances, reduced to a powder that will pass a sieve of 60 meshes to the 
linear inch, are uniformly moistened, by rubbing, with a fourth of their weight 
of the alcoholic mixture, they are yet pulverulent, but exhibit a damp appear- 
ance, and readily pack in the percolator. Glass funnels answer a good 
purpose, but cylindrical percolators may be employed. In either case, if the 

* " No. 60 " indicates fbat the sieve through which the powder is passed, has 60 meshes to 
the linear inch — and so of other numbers. 

t By this is intended a circular piece of muslin, linen or lint, or any insoluble porous 
tissue to prevent the disturbance of the powder. Filtering paper perforated with holes will 
do, but the disc of cotton cloth is cheap and to be preferred. The pieces need not be thrown 
away, but may again be used after washing. 


powder has been properly compacted, tlie menstruum when added passes very 
deliberately, by drops, and it will be found that the proprotion of the perco- 
late which is directed to be reserved will contain nearly all of the most valuable 
parts of the drug. In this way the action of heat and air is entirely prevented 
on the most important part of the extracted matter, and where volatile oils 
are concerned this fact is particularly important. It is surprising what con- 
centrated liquors are thus obtained when the trouble is taken to pass the pow- 
der through a sieve of the fineness indicated. It will be observed that the 
process adopted for this class, is nearly that of Prof. Graham, for fluid extract 
of Valerian. It will require strict attention to the details of the process to 
get the results intended, because success depends on the slowness of the per- 
colation without any regulation at the outlet of the funnel. 

The alcoholic condition of the resulting j^reparations is nearly 50 per cent. 
In this fluid the chlorophylle is but partly soluble, and much of this principle 
is left in the exhausted residue. 

Class Second. 


Take of Aconite root, in powder, (No. 60) 16 ounces, Troy. 
Alcohol, (sp., gr., .835) a sufficient quantity. 
Moisten the powder with six fluid ounces of alcohol, pack it firmly in a 
cylindrical percolator, cover the surface with a disc of cloth, and gradually 
pour on alcohol until three pints of tincture have passed, reserving the first 
half pint. The remainder of (he tincture is then distilled till reduced to half 
a pint and while hot mixed with reserved tincture. After standing twenty- 
four hours filter through paper. 
In the same manner prepare 


From Black Snakeroot in fine powder. 


From Black Hellebore in fine powder. 


From Ipecacuanha in fine powder. 


From Jalap in fine powder. 


From Mayapple root in fine powder. 


From Bloodroot in powder. 


From American Hellebore root, in powder. 


Remarks. — The powders for this class of extracts should be, at least, so 
fine as to pass through a sieve 60 meshes to the linear inch, and even dusted 
Jalap and Ipecacuanha may be employed with advantage. To test the 
extracts, all that was contained in the original tinctures, including the sedi- 
ment caused by the evaporation, was retained in the vials without filtration as 
directed in the recipe, so as to observe the effects of keeping. In the case of 
Jalap a very slight deposit of resinous matter adhered to the bottom. In the 
Cimicifuga and Podophyllum a little more of a pulverulent and flocculent con- 
sistence separated, but in quantity too small to mat3rially affect the activity 
of the preparations, even if resinous in its nature. The fluid extract of Ipecac 
will be the proper means of making the syrup, and properly diluted it affords 
a very energetic emetic. The alcoholic strength of these fluid extracts is about 
50 per cent. 

Class Third. 


Take of Colchicum root in powder, (No. 50,) 16 ounces, 
Diluted alcohol, a sufficient quantity. 
Mix the Colchicum powder with four fluid ounces of the diluted alcohol, 
pack it closely in a percolator, cover the surface with a disc of cloth, and 
gradually add more of the diluted alcohol until three pints of tincture have 
passed, reserving the first twelve fluid ounces. Evaporate the remainder of 
the tincture at 150° Fahr. to four fluid ounces, mix it with the reserved tinc- 
ture, and afler standing twenty-four hours, filter through paper. 
In the same manner prepare 


From Columbo, in powder, No. 40. 


From Chiretta, in powder. No. 50. 


From Boneset, in powder. No. 50. 


From Gentian, in powder, No. 50. 


From Squill, in powder, No. 30. 


From Seneka, in powder. No. 50. 


From Virginia Snakeroot, in powder, No. 60. 
Remarks. — In making Fluid Extract of Colchicum, by this formula, a 
whitish colored sediment is deposited from the reserved tincture by standing, 


and also by the evaporation of the last liquors, and after the mixture of the 
two the quantity seemed to slightly increase. The nature of this matter has 
not been determined, but it is believed to be identical with that deposited from 
the wine, and in no wise connected with the activity of the preparation. It 
is well, therefore, in this instance, to postpone the filtration of the fluid extract 
when not wanted for immediate use. It is highly probable that this substance 
may be avoided by employing concentrated alcohol to extract the root, and 
subsequently distilling off sufficient of it to reduce the alcoholic strength of 
the fluid extract to that above exhibited, which is about 25 per cent. 

In re"-ard to the permancy of Fluid E.xtract cf Seneka, there is some doubt, 
theoretically, owing to the tendency of an alcoholic solution of Seneka to 
deposit polygalic acid in cool weather. It remains to be observed whether 
this will prove an objection to the formula. Made with sugar, it has been 
known to gelatinize and lose its fluidity, possibly owing to the action of the 
pectin, or pectic acid which is known to be an ingredient of the root. 

From the gummy nature of Squill, it is necessary to use a coarser powder 
than would be proper for most other substances. 

Columbo in its behavior with diluted alcohol is analogous to Rhubarb. If 
very fine, the percolation is too tardy — hence a coarser powder is directed. 

Fluid Extract of Serpentaria fully represents that drug when made by this 
formula. It is possible the weak alcoholic menstruum may not be so highly 
approved as a saccharine one, but it may be sweetened before using. 

Class Fourth — Saccharine Fluid Extracts. 


Take of Yellow Peruvian bark, in powder, (No. 50,) . 16 ounces, Troy. 

Sugar, 10 ounces. 

Diluted alcohol, a sufficient quantity. 

Moisten the Peruvian Bark with half a pint of diluted alcohol, let it stand 
half an hour, pack it in a percolator firmly, cover it with a disc of cloth, and 
gradually add diluted alcohol till three pints of tincture have passed. Evap- 
orate the tincture at a moderate heat on a water bath to one pint, add the 
sugar, and continue the evaporation till reduced to one pint, and strain while 

In the same manner prepare 


From Pipsissewa, in powder. No. 50. 


From Bittersweet, in powder. No. 50. 


From Galls, in powder, No. 40. 



From Cranesbill, in powder, No. 50. 


From Pomegranate root bark, in powder, No. CO. 


From Blackberry root, in powder, No. 50. 


From Sarsaparilla, in powder, No. 50. 


From Pink root, in powder. No. 50. 


From Uva Ursi, in powder. No. 50. 

Remarks. — The astringent and apothemic drugs are less liable to decom- 
pose with a saccharine menstruum than with an akoholie liquid. A decided 
advantage is gained by adding the sugar before the completion of the evapora- 
tion, and in some cases it might be better to add the sugar at first, and evap- 
orate the alcohol afterwards. 

When carefully prepared, as described in the formula;, these fluid extracts 
are dense, clear, dark-colored solutions, with the exception of the Cinchona. 
This is, as in the preparation of Mr. Taylor, (which is of half the strength,) a 
reddish-brown, opaque, syrupy liquid, highly charged with the properties of 
Calisaya bark. It has not been sought to render this a clear solution by ex- 
cluding the precipitate of cinchotannates of the alkaloids, which occurs by 
cooling, nor to modify and render it soluble by the use of acids. If it should 
be determined to make the preparation clear, in case it is adopted into the 
Pharmacopoeia, it may be better to evaporate the tincture to one-fourth, let it 
stand till cool, sti-ain out the precipitate, add the cloudy liquid to the sugar, 
and when dissolved evaporate till reduced to a pint by a water bath heat. 
The small portion of undissolved matter that occasions the cloudiness of the 
lic^uid will be dissolved by the sugar during the heating process. The fluid 
extract of Blackberry root, is an admirable astringent addition to dian-hoea 
mixtures, as those of Nutgalls and Cranesbill are to gargles. 

The fluid extracts of Chimaphila, Dulcamara, Pomegranate, Spigelia, and 
Sarsaparilla, fully represent the several drugs, and by dilution with three 
times their bulk of simple syrup afford syrups of the ordinary strength. 

Class Fifth. — Acetic Fluid Extracts. 


Take of Ergot, in fine powder, (No. 60,) . . 16 ounces. 

Acetic acid, half a fluid ounce. 

Diluted alcohol, a sufficient quantity. 


Mix the acid with three pints of the diluted alcohol, moisten the ergot 
uniformly Avith half a pint of the mixture, pack it in a conical percolator, cover 
it with a disc of cloth, and add gradually the remainder of the acidulated 
alcohol, reserving the first twelve fluid ounces of tincture, and continuing the 
process until three pints more have passed, using diluted alcohol at the last. 
Evaporate this last portion to four fluid ounces, at a temperature not exceeding 
150° F., mix it with the reserved tincture, and filter through paper. 

In the same manner prepare 


From Hemlock leaves, in powder. No. GO. 


From Lobelia leaves, in powder, No. GO. 

Remarks. — In each of the drugs yielding these fluid extracts, there exists 
an alkaloid united with an organic acid, as a salt, which is so unstable in its 
nature, as in each case to be partially decomposed by the ebullition of its solu- 
tion. This is more particularly the case with Conium and Ergot. The acetic 
acid controls this tendency almost completely, below 150° Fahr. It will be 
observed that this formula differs from that proposed two years ago in a report 
to the Association, in which Ether was employed to remove the fixed oil. 
Er<Tot percolates more readily and effectually^ after the removal of the oil by 
Ether, than before, but when it is reduced to a powder by a sieve of 60 meshes 
per inch, it is readily exhausted by slow percolation with the precautions 
indicated. Further, the fluid extract prepared in this manner has been care- 
fully tested, during twelve months, by several practitioners who are satisfied 
of its efiiciency. . 

The fluid extracts of Conium and Lobelia made in this way, from the care- 
fully dried plants, are quite unexceptionable. 

Class Sixth. OJeoresinous Fluid Extracts. 


Take of Capsicum, in powder. No. 50, sixteen ounces. 

Alcohol (deodorized) a suificlent quantity. 
Moisten the Capsicum with four fluid ounces of the alcohol, pack tightly in 
a percolator, cover the surface with a disc of cloth, and pour on alcohol grad- 
ually until two pints have slowly passed. Keserve the first twelve fluid ounces, 
and evaporate the remainder to four fluid ounces by a gentle heat not exceed- 
in" 150° Fahr., mix it with the reserved tincture, and filter through paper. 
In the same manner prepare 


From Canella, In powder. No. 60. 



From Cardamom, in powder. No. 50. 


From Cloves, in powder. Ko. 50. 


From Ceylon Cinnamon, in powder. No. 60. 


From Cubebs, in powder. No. 50. 


From Elecampane, in powder. No. 60. 


From Orris root, in powder. No. 60. 


From Lupulin. 


From Myrrh, recently powdered. No. 30. 


From Pellitory root, in powder. No. 50. 


Take of Allspice, in powder. No. 50. 


From Prickly Ash bark, in powder. No. 60. 


From Jamaica Ginger, in powder. No. 60. 

Remarks. — This is a new class of Fluid Extracts embracing the more 
important aromatics, and stimulants owing their virtues to oleoresins. By the 
employment of Atwood's deodorized alcohol of 95 per cent., the menstruum 
does not depreciate the odoi's, and when the concentrated portion is added, 
but little if any precipitation occurs. Several of the extracts are more appro- 
priate for dental purposes than medicine, instance the Pellitory, Elecampane, 
Xanthoxylum, Orris, and Myrrh, although most of them may be used in med- 
icine. The Fluid Extract of Cubebs as thus made has some advantages over 
the oleoresin in mixtures that are not emulsive. The preparations of cloves, 
cardamom and ginger are admirable carminatives for pills or mixtures, and 
the capsicum affords a stimulant for external application well fitted as an 
addition to liniments, where a decided impression is needed. 

By combining the fluid extracts of ginger, cloves and cinnamon in the pro- 
portion of a fluid ounce of the former to half a fluid ounce each of the two 
latter, a liquid is obtained, which, when applied by means of two or three 
layers of lint or Canton flannel, saturated, affoi'ds an excellent extemporane- 



ous spice plaster. Or a compound fluid extract may be made 'by the follow- 
ing formula: 


Take of Ginger, in powder ... 8 ounces. 

Cloves " . . . .4 ounces. 

Cinnamon " . . . . 4 ounces. 

Alcohol . . . . .a sufficient quantity. 

Mix the powders, moisten them with four fluid ounces of alcohol, pack 
them in a percolator, cover the surflice with a disc of cloth, and pour on alco- 
hol until two pints have slowly passed. Reserve the first twelve fluid ounces, 
evaporate the remaider to four fluid ounces, and mix it with the reserved tinc- 
ture and filter. 

When it is desirable to increase the stimulation of this application, add a 
small quantity of capsicum. 

In the preparation of these fluid extracts, the powders should be as fine as 
possible, provided the substances are not injured thereby. In the case of 
myrrh, the tears alone should be used, reduced to powder simply, by tritura- 
tion without sifting. 


Take of Rhubarb, in powdei-. No. 40 . . 16 ounces, Troy. 

Sugar ..... 8 ounces. 

Alcohol . . • . .a pint. 

Diluted Alcohol . . . a sufficient quantity. 

Moisten the rhubarb with four fluid ounces of the alcohol, pack it moder- 
ately in a conical percolator, cover it with a disc of cloth and pour on the re- 
mainder of the alcohol ; when it has disappeared from the surface, continue 
the percolation with diluted alcohol until three pints have passed, observing 
to separate the first pint and set it aside in a warm place till reduced to six 
fluid ounces. Add the sugar to the other two pints, evaporate it to ten fluid 
ounces, and whilst hot mix it with the concentrated reserved tincture, and 
strain if necessary. 

Remarks. — This formula difiers but little from the officinal. The use of 
strong alcohol, at first, enables the operator to extract the more valuable ingre- 
dients, and get them in a concentrated form without injury from heat. The 
six fluid ounces of result from the evaporation of the first tincture is a thick 
molasses-like liquid containing nearly all the resinous and odorous matter of 
the root. During the evaporation of the last tincture, after adding the sugar, 
the alcohol is more rapidly dissipated if it is frequently stirred with a spatula. 
It is important to free the preparation as much as possible from alcohol, in 
evaporating the saccharine portion, to prevent the crystallization of the sugar, 
as enough of alcohol is retained in the first litpiid to supersede the necessity of 
adding the tincture of ginger. It will be noted that the aromatics have been 
omitted from this formula. This has been done for the following reasons : 1st. 


Fluid extract of rliubarb Is generally prescribed with other medicines, in -which 
case it is easy to add the aromatics according to the preference of the prescriber. 
2d. Their presence covers up to a considerable extent the peculiar distinctive 
odor and taste of the drug, and thus prevents a correct judgment of the per- 
fection of the preparation. 3d. When free from the aromatics, the fluid ex- 
tract affords a means of making the simple syrup of rhubarb extemporaneously, 
that is very convenient in warm weather. 


Take of Senna, in powder. No. CO. . . IG ounces, Troy. 

Sugar .... 8 ounces, Troy. 

Diluted Alcohol . . . .a sufBcient quantity. 

Moisten the senna with four fluid ounces of diluted alcohol, and pack it in 
a conical percolator, cover it with a disc of cloth, and pour on diluted alcohol 
until three pints have slowly passed. Reserve the first pint, and in a warm 
place let it evaporate to half a pint. To the remaining two pints of tincture 
add the sugar, and in a water bath concentrate the solution to half a pint, and 
mix it with the concentrated tincture, and strain if necessary. When it is 
desirable to aromatize this fluid extract, add sixteen minims of oil of cloves 
dissolved in half a fluid ounce of tincture of ginger to the (^[uantity of the for- 

Remarks. — In this formula, it will be observed, the aromatics and Hoff- 
man's Anodyne are omitted. If the senna is passed through a sieve 50 or 
60 meshes to the inch, and a funnel-shaped pei'colator used, the first pint of 
tincture will contain most of the valuable portion of the senna, and by the 
precautions suggested in its evaporation, it is not injured by the process. 
The reasons for omitting the aromatics are the following: 1st. The quality 
of the preparation, when finished, can be better determined bv its odor and 
taste. 2d. The fluid extract can be employed to make the fluid extracts of 
Senna and Spigelia and Senna and Rhubarb extemporaneously when desired. 
3d. The aromatics can be added when required, or varied to suit the taste of 
the physician or patient. 4th. The proportion of alcohol retained in the 
preparation is sufficient to keep it from spoiling without Hoffman's Ano- 


Takeof Pinkroot, in powder. No. 60 . . 10 ounces, Troy. 

Senna, in powder, No. 50 . . 6 ounces, Troy. 

Sugar . . . . .10 ounces, Troy. 

Carbonate of Potassa • . 4 drachms. 

Oil of Caraway and Anise . . . each 10 minims. 

Diluted Alcohol ... a sufficient quantit3\ 

Mix the Pink Root and Senna intimately together, moisten them with half 
a pint of diluted alcohol, pack the mixture in a conical percolator, cover the 


surface with a disc of cloth, and pour on diluted alcohol until three pints have 
passed, reserving the first pint. Evaporate the reserved tincture at a gentle 
heat till reduced to six fluid ounces, mix the sugar with the remainder, and 
evaporate it to ten fluid ounces, mix this with the concentrated tincture, and 
having triturated the oils with the carbonate of potassa, dissolve them in the 
fluid extract, and strain. 

Fluid Extract of Senna and Pinkroot may also be prepared in the following 
manner : 

Take of Fluid Extract of Pinkroot, . . . 10 fluid ounces. 
Fluid Extract of Senna, .... 6 fluid ounces. 
Carbonate of Potassa, .... half an ounce. 
Oil of Caraway and Oil of Anise, each . 20 minims. 

Mix the fluid extracts and dissolve in them the carbonate and oils previously 
triturated together. 

Remarks. — Fluid Extract of Spigelia and Senna made by the above 
recipes varies slightly, theoretically, from the officinal ; the proportion of the 
two main ingredients is slightly varied so as to make them, taken together, an 
ounce to the fluid ounce. The manipulation is calculated to afford a better 
preparation than the officinal recipe. The second formula will be found a 
great convenience in making the preparation extemporaneously, in the quan- 
tity it may be needed. 


Take of Fluid Extract of Rhubarb, ... 4 fluid ounces. 
Fluid Extract of Senna, . . . 12 fluid ounces. 

Bicarbonate of Potassa, in powder, . . half an ounce. 
Tincture of Ginger, . . . . .1 fluid ounce. 

Oil of Cloves, 8 minims. 

Oil of Anise, . . . . . .16 minims. 

Dissolve the Bicarbonate of Potassa in the fluid extracts, and add to them 
the oils previously dissolved in the tincture of ginger, and mix them. 

Remarks. — This preparation Is an extemporaneous imitation of a recipe 
published in the 25th volume of the American Journal of Pharmacy, page 23. 
It is believed to possess sufticient merit to have a place in a general collection 
of the fluid extracts. 


Take of Sarsaparllla, in powder. No. 30, . 12 ounces, Troy. 

Dulcamara, in powder, No. 30, 
Guaiacum wood, rasped, 

Pipsissewa, in powder. No. 30, each . 4 ounces, Troy. 

Liquorice Root, In powder, 
Sassafras Bark, in powder, each . . 2 ounces, Troy. 

Sugar, 10 ounces, Troy. 

Diluted Alcohol, a sufficient quantity. 

AMERICAN 'pharmaceutical ASSOCIATION. 277 

Mix the Sarsaparilla, Dulcamara, Guaiacum, Pipsisscwa, and Liquorice 
Root intimately togethei-, moisten them with two pints of diluted alcohol, allow 
them to macerate twenty-four hours in a covered vessel, pack them tightly in 
a cylindrical percolator, and pour on diluted alcohol until five pints have 
slowly passed. Moisten the Sassafras with a fluid ounce of the tincture, pack 
it in a percolator and pour on more of the tincture till two fluid ounces have 
passed. Evaporate the remainder of the tincture on a water bath to a pint, 
add the sugar, continue the evaporation till reduced to 14 fluid ounces, add 
the tincture of sassafras, mix them and strain, so as to get a pint of fluid ex- 

Remarks. — The writer is aware of the difTiculty that will present in fol- 
lowing rigidly the directions of this formula, owing to the trouble of obtaining 
the ingredients in powder. This is, however, not insuperable, either with the 
mortar on a small scale or through the drug grinder in quantity. Yet in view 
of the probabiiit}- of the ingredients being used in very coarse powder, it has 
been directed to mix them Intimately and macerate in suflicient menstruum to 
saturate them, then to pack them tightly in the percolator. On a small scale 
it will, under these circumstances, be found advantageous to beat the ingredients 
in a mortar before packing. On a large scale, digestion for a time in hot 
dilute alcohol at 150° in a close vessel, will aid greatly in the subsequent ex- 
traction by percolatrion. 

It will be observed that very material changes are suggested in this formula. 
As it now stands in the Pharmacopoeia, this preparation is little different from 
the simple fluid extract, for which a formula has been given in the fourth class. 
The introduction of Dulcamara, Pipsissewa, and Guaiacum is the result of an 
experience of twenty years in the preparation of such an extract, and com- 
petent medical testimony in favor of its efliciency. The manner of treating 
the Sassafras involves but little trouble, and while it effectually communicates 
the properties of that aromatic, it also introduces a little alcohol, which insures 
the stability of the preparation. 


Take of Taraxacum, in powder, (No. 50,) . . 16 ounces, Troy. 

Diluted Alcohol, a sufficient quantity. 

Moisten the Taraxacum with four fluid ounces of diluted alcohol, pack it in 
a conical percolator, cover it with a disc of cloth, and pour on diluted alcohol 
until three pints have gradually passed. Reserve the first half pint, and evap- 
orate the remainder at 120° Fahr., till reduced to half a pint, mix it with the 
reserved tincture and filter. 

Fluid extract of Taraxacum may also be made from the fresh root by the 
following process, viz : 

Take of recent Dandelion Root, (gathered in Autumn,) 24 ounces. 
Alcohol, ..... half a pint. 

Bruise the root to a pulp, mix it intimately with the alcohol, and after macer- 
ation for a week express strongly and filter to get two pints of fluid extract. 


Remarks. — The first formula is the " Liquor Taraxaci " of the English 
pharmaceutical chemists, and it is a good preparation v/hen made in the man- 
ner described. The second formula is the " Preserved juice of Taraxacum," 
now in use in Philadelphia, and which merits a place in the Pharmacopoeia. 
The object of maceration for a week is, that the cellular tissue of the root may 
be softened, so as to yield more freely to pressure. 


Take of Extract of Liquorice (Calabria) . . 8 ounces, Troy. 

Sugar, In powder, 10 ounces, Troy. 

Water, a sufficient quantity. 

Bruise the extract till reduced to pieces about the size of a pea, enclose it 
in a gauze cloth, suspend it in a pint vessel, cover it with water, let it stand 
1 2 hours, pour off the dense liquor, renew the water, and again macerate for 
12 hours. Drain the liquor from the undissolved portion of extract, mix It 
with the first liquid, evaporate to 12 fluid ounces, strain if necessary, dissolve 
in it the sugar, and evaporate till the fluid extract measures a pint. 

Remarks. — This preparation Is Intended to facilitate the dispensing of 
extract of liquorice In cough mixtures. As usually prescribed by physicians, 
the insoluble sediment Is contained in the mixtures, and always gives them an 
unsightly appearance. Each fluid ounce represents half an ounce of the ex- 
tract, and more than an ounce of the root. This preparation keeps pretty 
well, except in hot weather, but it is better not to make it in large quantity. 
If too long kept, carbonic acid Is eliminated. 


Take of Wild Cherry Bark, In powder. No. GO, . 16 ounces, Troy. 

Sweet Almonds, .... 2 ounces, Troy. • 

Sugar, In powder, 12 ounces, Troy. 

Alcohol, .835, 

Water, of each, a sufficient quantity. 

Moisten the bark with four fluid ounces of alcohol, pack it in a percolator, 
cover it with a disc of cloth, and pour on alcohol until three pints have slowly 
passed. By means of a distillatory apparatus, regain two pints and a half of 
the alcohol. Mix the residue with half a pint of water, and evaporate It to 
half a pint, or until the alcohol Is dissipated. Beat the almonds, without 
blanching, to a smooth paste with four fluid ounces of water, mix this with the 
extractive solution in a well stoppered bottle, and agitate occasionally for 24 
hours. The contents of the bottle are then thrown on a cloth filter, strongly 
and quickly expressed, and If the expressed liquid does not measure 12 
fluid ounces, add water to the residue and again express till sufficient is ob- 
tained. Having placed the sugar In a bottle marked for a pint, filter the ex- 
pressed liquid from a close funnel into the bottle, which should be occasionally 
agitated, until, when the liquid has passed, and the sugar is all dissolved, the 
fluid extract shall measure a pint. 


Remarks. — The propriety of doubling the strength of this fluid extract, in 
obedience to the rule adopted of making all fluid extracts an ounce to the 
fluid ounce, may well be doubted, as it reduces the dose to half a teaspoonful, 
and requires very careful manipulation to retain all the virtues of the bark in 
so small a space. Nevertheless the product obtained, like that of the original 
formula, (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1856,) well represents the drug, and deserves 
a place among the fluid extracts worthy of adoption. 


Take of Rhatany root in powder (GO to the inch) . 16 ounces. 

Sugar 12 ounces. 

Water a suflicient quantity. 

Moisten the Rhatany with half a pint of water, let it stand an hour, pack it 
closely in a conical percolator, cover it with a disc of cloth, and pour on 
water until four pints have slowly passed. Evaporate the liquor on a water 
bath of 12 fluid ounces, add the sugar, and continue the evaporation until 
the whole measures a pint, and strain. 

Thus prepared, fluid extract of Rhatany is about two and a half times the 
strength of the oflicinal syrup, and affords a very elegant astringent prepara- 
tion for mixtures. At first it was determined to prepare this extract by the 
foi-mula for the Fluid Extract of Cinchona, and when so made it is evidently 
charged with the astringency of the drug, but the result is an opaque syrupy 
liquid, which by dilution with water gives a precipitate of apotheme. It is 
absolutely necessary to have the Rhatany in a uniform powder to succeed by 
the above recipe, so that the percolation in an unobstructed funnel shall be 
quite slow. 


Take of Butternut bark, finely bruised, . . . 16 ounces. 

Sugar, 12 " 

Alcohol, Water, of each, . . ... a suflicient quantity. 

Mix one p;irt of alcohol with three parts of water, put the bark in a suit- 
able, close vessel, pour over it two pints of the diluted alcohol, and digest at a 
temperature not exceeding 120° for twenty-four hours, and express strongly. 
Return the marc to the vessel and again digest in two pints of the mixture 
for twelve hours, and express. Unite the liquids, evaporate them over a 
water bath to ten fluid ounces, filter the liquor, and dissolve in it the sugar, 
and strain so as to make a pint of fluid extract. 

In the same manner prepare 


From Quassia, finely rasped. 
Remarks. — It would have been preferable to place Fluid Extract of But- 
ternut in the fourth class, and Quassia in the third class, but for the difficulty 
presented by their texture. Under the circumstances the above will afibrd 


a means open to all operators. With proper care the results are excellent 



Take of Capsicum, in powder, No. 50, . . . 16 ounces. 

Ether, a sufficient quantity. 

Pack the Capsicum tightly in a percolator for volatile liquids, cover it with 
a disc of cloth, jjour on the ether until two pints of duid have passed. Put 
this in a retort, and by aid of a water bath distil a pint and a half of ether 
into a refrigerated receiver. Expose the residue in the retort in an open 
capsule, till the remains of the ether have passed off, and preserve the oleo- 

In the same manner prepare 


From Cardamom seeds, in powder. No. 50. 


From Cloves in fine powder. No. 50. 


From Cubebs in fine powder. No. 50. 


From male Fern, in powder. No. 50. 


From Lupulin. 


From Black Pepper, in powder. No. 50. 


From Pellitory root, in powder. No. 50. 


From Savin, in powder. No. 50. 


From Prickly Ash bark, in powder. No. 50. 


From Jamaica ginger, in Powder. No. 60. 
Remarks. — Of these Oleoresins, those of capsicum, cubebs, popper, 
cloves, lupulin, savin and ginger, possess decided merit. That of cardamom 
is a hquid, consisting of one-third volatile oil and two-thirds fixed oil, with but 
little resinous matter. The male fern is used in Europe and occasionally 
here. The Xanthoxylum as used by the Eclectics is prepared by another 
formula. The list might be much extended, but even that submitted is longer 
than will be accepted. The oleoresin of savin incorporates easily with resin 
cerate, and aflbrds the most elegant form of savin cerate yet suggested. 


In conclusion it may be again remarked, that the formulttj are all such as 
the pharmaceutists may practise in the shop ; they do not involve much expen- 
diture of apparatus, and when attention is given to the division of the powders 
and the manipulation of the percolation as directed, the result will, it is 
believed, generally give satisfaction. It is quite possible that some of them 
by keeping a length of time will deposit sediment, the result of a disturbance 
in the balance of the solubilities. This may be expected, but, except in few 
instances, it has no influence on the medicinal power of the extract. 

It is proper before leaving the subject to extend a caution in reference to 
such of the above formulas as are suggested as substitutes for the present offi- 
cinal fluid extracts that dlifer in strength or composition from them — that 
they should not be used until sanctioned by authority, yet the improved man- 
ipulation may be aj^plied where it does not alter the character of the prepar- 

Philadelphia, September itJi, 1859. 


"What is the cause of its tendency to deposit a sediment? — has that sedi- 
ment any medical value? — and can the deposition be avoided by substituting 
another alcoholic menstruum of the strength of wine ? " 

The above queries were accepted by me as subjects of inquiry, and to re- 
port upon some two years since. The circumstances that have heretofore 
prevented me from reporting have already been explained. It is now my pur- 
pose to read a few thoughts that I have written upon the subject. 

Though I must first premise by stating, that my deductions are not based upon 
any very thorough experiments — that I have attempted no ultimate analysis 
of the sediment in question, for, to my mind, neither that which is required 
by the shops daily routine, nor the courses of study as pursed in our colleges 
of pharmacy, fit the pharmaceutist for that nice research into the ultimate con- 
stituents of bodies, that owe to accuracy of manipulation, and correct deduction, 
their whole value. 

Such research belongs more properly to the analytic chemist — to his care 
I leave this portion of the subject, merely intending to treat it as one of prac- 
tical pharmacy. In February last I made thirty-two ounces of wine of ipecac- 
uanha — sixteen ounces of which were made in conformity with our phar- 
macopceia — the remaining sixteen in the same manner, with the exception 
that the sherry wine used was strengthened by the addition of one-eighth of 
its bulk of alcohol. 

Each of these vinous tinctures was put into eight ounce vials, and one vial 
of each kind was securely corked and sealed, so as to exclude air. 

The remaining two were loosely corked so as to place them as nearly as 
possible under the same exposure to atmosphere as they would undergo if in 
the ordinary dispensing bottle of the shop. 


The vials were from time to time examined — a sediment was found to be 
forming in each, more rapidly, however, in the unsealed than in the sealed 
vials; the strength of the wine, much to my surprise, did not appear to affect 
the bulk of the matter deposited. Eight ounces of wine of ipecac, after stand- 
ing in a loosely corked vial about six months, yielded a sediment weighing 
about eight grains. It was insoluble both in alcohol and in water; soluble 
in boiling alkaline solutions ; soluble in ammonia, from which it is precipi- 
tated by an acid. 

Incinerated, a small quantity of ash remains, resulting probably from a de- 
posit of tartar by the wine. 

Boiled with water, it gave no indication of starch upon the addition of tinc- 
ture of iodine. 

Boiled with alcohol, no trace of emetia could be detected in the alcohol 

To the question, what is this sediment, I make no dii-ect reply, other than 
that it is not peculiar to the wine of , ipecacuanha — that we have analogous 
sediments deposited in most of our medicated wines and tinctures when long 
kept — for example, such a deposit may be found in the tinctures of gentian, 
of squills, of orange peel, of peruvian bark, in the wine of colchicum, of opium, 
and many others. 

That a like body is formed during the evaporation of extracts, and also fre- 
quently in the finished extract when long and carefully kept. The sub- 
stance, in this instance, being recognized under the name of extractive mat- 
ter or apothem. 

That we again find an analogous body in the so-called humus or ulmine, 
which plays so important a part in the composition of all soils susceptible of 
profitable cultivation. The substance being formed in this instance by the 
slow decay, or most probably, oxidation of the vegetable matter in the soil. 
The same cause acting, doubtlessly, whether the substance be formed in a 
wine, a tincture, or in the soil. Do not understand me to say that the deposit, 
found in wine of ipecacuanha, is identical in Its ultimate chemical composition 
with the extractive, the apotheme, the humus, as it may be termed as derived 
from one or the other source. I assert nothing of the kind ; — each I believe 
to be a complex body, varying in exact composition with the source and cir- 
cumstances from and under which it may have been formed — that the de- 
posit that forms in many of our tinctures contains coloring matter in an unal- 
tered condition — that when a preparation holds tannic acid in solution, and its 
activity depends upon some alkaloid, that a precipitate will result from the 
formation of an insoluble compound of the two, as the natural combinations 
of the substance are broken up. That, in such a case, the medicinal activity 
of the preparation will be impaired; that, nevertheless, the great bulk of all 
these sediments is apothem — that there is sufficient sameness in their prop- 
erties, in the manner of their formation, in their chemical reactions to jus- 
tify their classification under one common head ; they are all, so far as I 


have had the opportunity to test the matter, alike insoluble in alcohol and in 
water, and are soluble in alkaline solution and in ammonia, from which they 
are precipitated by an acid. 

That although derived from different sources, and formed under diverse 
influences, that they ai'e all brought into being in obedience with that natural 
law that causes all organic matter to pass into such form that it may, in turn, 
serve to nourish other organisms ; that no matter how we may alter or retard 
this change, that the tendency is at all times the same ; that emetia, in com- 
mon with other vegetable matters, held in solution in the wine of ipecacuanha 
goes to swell the bulk of the deposit, is, I think, a fair deduction. Viewing 
the matter, however, wholly as a question of pharmacy, looking at the small 
quantity of the deposit obtained after six months exposure, the absence of 
any appreciable emetia in the deposit, we may conclude, that in practice, 
the pharmaceutist need pay but little attention to this sediment. Let him use 
good sound wine, or perhaps, preferably, a dilute alcohol, say containing from 
18 to 20 per cent. Let him make no more of the wine than the legitimate 
demands of his business require. 

Let him, in case it be necessary that any of this wine be kept a long time, 
put it into moderately small bottles, securely cork and seal them, and he has 
done all that he can do toward its preservation. Finally, the wine of ipe- 
cacuanha, as it now stands, is a good and efficient preparation and sufficiently 
stable for all pharmaceutical purposes. I have no alterations to suggest. 

JOS. ROBERTS, Baltimore. 


" What is the best formula for a permanent liquid preparation of white or 
black Mustard seed that may be used as a substitute for Mustard Plasters." 

There are several preparations in use in Europe of the kind alluded to. 
By distillation with water alone, mustard yields a stimulating distillate, though 
for the purposes named the yield is improved by the addition of alcohol, a 
formula ascribed to Nees Von Esenbeck, published in 1831, is as follows : 
Take of fresh powdered Mustard Seed, . . , . 1 lb. 

Alcohol, 2 oz. 

Muriate of Ammonia, i ^^• 

Water sufficient. 
Distil Ibiss. to Ibij. — a liniment used in cholera, &c., and represented as 
preferable to Cantharides, Capsicum, &c., for its rubefacient effect. As a 
substitute for the sinapism a strip of linen or cotton cloth is to be soaked in it 
and applied to the skin. 

Spiritus Sinapis is made as follows : 
Take of freshly powdered Mustard, .... 12 lbs. 
Water, 40 lbs. 


Distil till about 3 pints have passed over, having placed 3 lbs. of water in 
the receiver and conducted the distillate directly into this. It now contains 6 
lb;;., to which is added alcohol which has been contained in a vessel con- 
nected with the receiver by a tube, and into which any volatile oil of mustard 
not absorbed by the water, had passed. Like the foregoing this is a powerful 
stimulating lotion. 

We have in the country no preparations of mustard In common use, 
although there are formulas published for a tincture and mustard made by 
treating 12 pounds of mustard with 250 of alcohol, and a liniment made by 
infusing 1 pint of mustard in 8 of oil of turpentine. 

WhileheacVs Essence of Mustard Is an old proprietary medicine which origi- 
nated in England, but is now Imitated by druggists In this country, as well as 

The following is a formula used by a wholesale house In Philadelphia. I 
also exhibit a sample of the article. 

whilehead's essence of mustard. 
Take of Oil of Turpentine, . . . . f ounces iv. 

Camphor, drachms ij. 

Oil of Rosemary, .... 2 (small size) 
Mustard, . . . ... . 2 (small size) 

Infuse togethor and color with a little tincture of turmeric. 

Neither of these preparations answers a good purpose to substitute mustard 
plaster, although by friction upon the surface they produce a powerful rubefa- 
cient effect. 

The volatile oil of black mustard seed Is sometimes used in a diluted 
form as a powerful rubefacient, but It is entirely too expensive to be generally 
adopted, the yield being extremely small. This remarkable compound, like 
several other stimulating oils, does not pre-exist In the seed, but is developed 
by contact of moisture so that any process aiming at Its production must 
start by the use of an aqueous menstruum. I have not experimented upon 
white or black mustard seed with reference to other stimulating principles 
giving them value as rubefacients, but It is known that much of the mustard of 
commerce Is made from the white seed and that its stimulating j^roperties are 
due In part to a similar product, though not volatile. My object in the few 
experiments tried has been to contrive a method of extracting all the stimula- 
ting principles including the volatile oil and to overcome the disadvantage per- 
taining to all the preparations for which formulas have been given, that they 
are too volatile for convenient use as substitutes for mustard plaster. I con- 
fess to but little positive knowledge derived from experiments upon the subject, 
having been too much engrossed with more pressing duties to do justice to the 
subject, but give the following formula as furnishing an oily, rubefacient pre- 
paration of mustard : 


Take of Black Mustard seed, in powder, . 4 ounces. 

"Water, 4 fluid ounces. 

Macerate in a covered vessel for an hour, 

add Alcohol, (sp. gr. .835,) . . 8 fluid ounces. 
Express and add Ether, . . .8 fluid ounces. 
or suflicient. Evaporate spontaneously. 

This is an oily liquid of a yelIo%v color, consisting chifly of the fixed oil of 
mustard, holding in solution the pungent principles of the seed; it is less 
volatile than the Ibregoing, and highly rubefacient. It is, however, quite in- 
ferior to mustard plaster, for the purposes for ■which it is usually required. 

The porous and yet firm consistence of the cataplasm, the fact that it does 
not produce a greasy stain when applied, and is always hard, makes it better 
for the purpose than a liquid preparation can be. 
I append a good recipe for a Cataplasm of Mustard : 

Take of Warm "Water, suflicient. 

Flour of Mustard, ...... 4 ounces. 

Rye Meal, 2 ounces. 

Make into a paste and spread upon muslin or Canton flannel with gauze be- 
tween it and the skin. 

EDWARD PARRISH, Philadelphia. 


The SUphium laciniatum, or rosin weed of our western prairies, yields a 
resinous exudation, in appearance like mastic. 

Question. What is the character of this resinous product ? Can it be sub- 
stituted for mastic ? And to what extent may it be collected as an article of 
commerce ? 

An answer to the above queries was expected at your last meeting, but as 
the intelligence of the assignment of this subject to me was not received until 
after the frost had killed the rosin weed, rendering it impossible for me to pro- 
cure any of the gum the fall I was appoinfe'l, I was obliged to remain inactive 
for the season, yet hoping the following summer to obtain some samples in 
time to investigate the subject and make at least a partial report, but I i^as 

Owing to the continuous rains during the early part of the summer, the gum 
did not mature, and I was compelled to ofi'er an apology instead of a report. 

This season I corresponded early with my friends in different parts of the 
country, requesting that they would forward me some gum as soon as they 
could gather it, and on the 24th of August I received about an ounce from 
Dr. O. P. Hatheway, of Marseilles, Illinois. 

With this small quantity, and at this late day, I felt it almost useless to try 
to make out a report, but concluded to offer you the result of my limited 


1st. I find this gum to possess the general characteristics of the resins ; 
being, -when dry, solid, brittle, fusible by a moderate heat, decomposed at a 
higher temperature ; inflammable, burning with a bright flame, with much 
smoke, and giving otF its peculiar balsamic fumes. 

It is insokible in alcohol and water, but is dissolved by ether, chloi-oform, the 
acids and volatile oils. 

When first gathered it has a strong terebinthinate odor, which is partially 
lost upon exposure, and a fresh balsamic aroma peculiar to itself. 

As it exudes from tlie stalk of the plant it becomes hardened, forms in tears, 
varying from the size of a pin head to a large pea. 

It is then of a whitish appearance, clearer than mastic, and more trans- 

Like mastic, upon chewing it becomes soft and ductile, imparting to the 
breath its agreeable flavor. 

Its specific gravity is .833, while that of mastic is 1.074. 

2d. Can it be substituted for mastic ? 

As far as my experiments have been conducted I find it can. 

As a masticatory, it being rather softer when held in the mouth than mastic, 
and equally as pleasant to the taste, I consider it preferable to that gum. 

It is frequently collected by the children and used as a chewing gum. 

And while Turkish women habitually make use of the one to preserve and 
whiten their teeth, strengthen their gums, and purify their breath, the Indian 
maiden, true to the instincts of woman's nature, uses the other to add these 
same attractions to those other personal charms she possesses in the eyes of 
some brave young warrior of the tribe. 

As a preparation for filling the cavities of carious teeth, I think it will be 
found equal to mastic, as it is as tenacious and hard. 

Dissolved in turpentine, it makes a most brilliant varnish, equalling, I think, 
the best specimens of mastic, and being even lighter colored than that favorite 

But it is as a masticatory that I am inclined to place the highest value upon it. 

Though, as I stated in opening, I have not had the gum sufliciently long to 
experiment with, yet I have taken great pains to inquire of intelligent farmers 
who are fiimiliar with it, into its efl'ects upon the animals who feed upon the 
plant, and I find that it is much sought after by cattle, and is considered by 
all who have given the subject any attention, a sure cure for the heaves in 

Being assured of this fact, I was induced to press my inquiries more directly 
as to its effects upon the human system. 

Having none of this gum, I substituted [mastic, by chewing which, and 
swallowing the saliva, I found that any irritation of the lungs was often 
allayed, and coughing stopped. Reasoning»frora analogy, I am inclined to the 
opinion that this same effect will often be produced by the use of the prairie 


To corroborate this opinion, I have the direct testimony of but one person, 
that of the highly accomplished Miss Jennie Stevens, of Jefferson City, Mo. 

In conversation with me upon the subject this fall, she stated that a few 
years since she was troubled with very weak lungs, so much in fact that the 
difficulty was a source of anxiety to her friends, and she herself was fearful 
that she would be compelled to relinquish her employment as teacher, for often 
at the close of a .day she was scarcely able to articulate above a whisper. 
While in this condition, and living at the time where resin weed was plentiful, 
she by some means got to chewing the gum, and was surprised to observe the 
marked effect it immediately had upon her ; for let her be as weary as she 
might, she always felt, after chewing the gum a short time, as much refreshed 
as though she had enjoyed hours of repose, while her lungs gradually became 
stronger, and by gathering enough gum in the fall to last for the season, and 
using it every evening, as above stated, when the duties of the day had ended, 
she eventually became perfectly cured, and has to-day as strong and healthy a 
pair of lungs as could be desired. 

Miss Stevens added she was perfectly willing that I should make her case 
public, as she believes her cure resulted from the use of the gum, and she 
was happy to know that the subject was being investigated, and did not doubt 
were the virtue of this unpretending weed generally known, many valuable 
lives might be saved that now yield to the insidious and persevering demolu- 
tions of that fell destroyer, consumption. 

I regret that I am unable to add more testimony in support of my opinion, 
but I hope by the next session of this body to be able to put you in possession 
of other facts. 

For that purpose I have ordered the collection, In different sections of our 
State, of $25 worth of the gum, with which I Intend to test its virtues. 

3d. To what extent may it be collected as an article of commerce ? 

The luxuriant prairies of the west abound with this weed, where frequently 
thousands of acres of It stretch off before the eye, bearing in the fall, bright 
yellow flowers, which, as they nod to the wind, resemble an Immense army 
waving Its rich banners of gold. 

It Is this weed, In a great measure, that makes a prairie on fire so grand an 
object to contemplate. 

In a good season, when the plant has attained the height of eight or ten 
feet, after the first frost has plucked, with vandal hands, the rich ornaments 
that crowd these broad aisles of God's noble temples, I would bid you gaze 
upon one of those extensive prairies, sweeping off to the horizon , broader and 
wider than whole kingdoms of Europe, as a fire Is enkindled upon Its border, 
if you would have your soul impressed with grandeur and admiration. 

Then It Is that the waves of flame roll In high columns over this terrestrial 
sea, lapping with fiery tongues the hardened juice from the stalks that the sun 
has called forth, throwing their red gauntlet of defiance high Into heaven, 
midst the storm-brewing clouds, which may return the bold challenge with 


hoarse rumblings and heavy showers as they ride there at anchor, frightening 
the beasts from their coverts, and the birds from their nests, and roaring hke 
Niagara, as they go rushing along. 

But as the hardy pioneer seeks these prairies for his home, they are carved 
■with rail fences, and dissected by plows, and the rosin plant grows less rank as 
the scythe of the mower and the herd of the husbandmen cut it frequently ! 
until finally, like the Indian maiden that once called its blossoms her sisters, 
■which she vied with in beauty, it is lost altogether where it once did abound. 

Whether it might not be cultivated, and thus be preserved, I am to deter- 
mine this season by experiment. 

But one great obstacle in the way of its becoming an article of commerce 
is the fact that it is tedious to collect, exuding as it does, in small tears, or 
masses, it can only be gathered at a great expense of time. By breaking the 
top off, or making incisions in the stalk, it might yield larger fragments, but 
until some other method is devised for procuring it, it will remain an expensive 

Yet should it prove to be so valuable a remedy in bronchial affections as I 
now consider it, some suitable means will be adopted to render its general use 
within the means of all. 

I have thus imperfectly introduced this subject, leaving it for others to go 
on investigating the broad fields that lie upon our western borders, inviting 
the study and inspection of man. 

I am glad that the attention of this Society is turned in that direction, and 
I doubt not a careful investigation of the properties of those indigenous plants 
that have for so many ages proved oftentimes remedial in the unskilful hands 
of the aborigines, will, when examined and made use of by intelligent practi- 
tioners, be found very beneficial in curing those complaints peculiar to the 
locality in which they are found. 

For it is my firm conviction the great Ordainer, who visited the primitive 
inhabitants of this country, with diseases peculiar to their particular climate 
and locality, also furnished them with remedial agents at hand, by giving them 
the keys to Nature's laboratory, and bidding them seek there their curatives, 
instead of compelling them, pagan-like, to turn eastward to worship the heal- 
ing god, and, like us, rely mainly upon 

" The poison drugs from India come," 

for relief from their complaints. 

And Avhile we, as Americans, favor domestic products, and home industry, 
let us also seek here our medicines. 

Nor will we seek in vain, for we will find in our own country, growing out 
of our own diversified soil, all those remedies thjrt the exigencies of life shall 


202 Randolph Street. 
Chicago, September 2d, 1859. 




At a meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association, held at Wash- 
ington, Sept., 1858, I accepted the following subject for investigation: — 

"It has been found that Liquor Ferri lodidi of the Pharmacopoeia fre- 
quently assumes a brown color, and that this color is entirely dissipated on 
exposure to light, or may be prevented entirely by such exposure to light 
when first made. 

" Question — To what is this change due, and is it, by such change, thera- 
peutically affected ? " 

Newly prepared Syrup of Iodide of Iron, according to the United States 
Pharmacopoeia, is a transparent liquor of a pale-green color, but frequently 
becomes a dark red. If exposed to the direct light of the sun, it is restored 
to its original transparency and color. The same change will take place if 
exposed to the indirect light, but requires a much longer time. The loss of color 
by the action of light distinguishes the syrup from a watery solution of the 
iodide of iron, which, if exposed to light, undergoes continual decomposition, 
becoming darker and darker. The inference is very clear, that the deoxydiz- 
ing influence of the sugar, which if so well known, protracts the decomposi- 
tion ; but the darkening of the syrup continues if the light is excluded, and 
to the light must be attributed a great influence on the chancres goinji on in 

C O o D C 

the syrup. To ascertain what these changes are, the following experiments 
have been made : — 

1. A dark syrup was filtered ; the filtered liquid was clear, of a reddish- 
brown color, and contained free iodine, as a test with starch clearly showed. 
On the filter remained a deposit, which, after being well washed, dried, and 
heated, smelled strongly of iodine, and left oxide of iron. The solution of 
this deposit in nitric acid, after an addition of starch, became blue. 

2. Some of the dark syrup was exposed to the direct light of the sun, fil- 
tered after it had assumed a light-green color, and the well-washed deposit on 
the filter was found to be oxide of iron, entirely free from iodine, and in the 
syrup there was no longer any free iodine, as a test of starch showed. 

3. Fifteen grains of iodide of iron and one ounce of water were put In two 
white bottles ; these were exposed to the sunlight ; in both of them the liquid 
soon became tui'bid, and assumed a red color, caused by free iodine. To one 
of the bottles was then added a small quantity of sugar, and its contents 
became almost immediately nearly colorless and clear, depositing sediment of 
oxide of iron, while the liquid in the other bottle was constantly becoming 
darker, and seemed to be entirely decomposed. 

From these experiments, the following conclusions have been arrived at. 
In the dark syrup a combination of iodide of iron is suspended, and free 
iodine dissolved in it. In the syrup decolorized by the light there is no longer 



any free iodine dissolved in it, but it contains a sediment of oxide of iron. 
The sediment in a watery solution of iodide of Iron, according to Berzelius, 
is an oxyiodide of iron, probably Fe^ I3 + Fe2 O3. The following will 
explain this. 4 Fe, I and 3 O, form in the dark Fe2 I3 + Fe^ O3 and I. 

As experiment No. 2 shows, the oxyiodide is decomposed by exposure to 
the light, the sediment no longer contains any iodine, and the proto-Iodide of 
iron again formed Feg I3 + and Fe^ Og and 2 I. But this iodine, which, 
according to the formula, Is free, can no longer be tested by starch, and the 
principal purpose of this examination was to ascertain what had become of it. 
The most simple explanation Is, that hydrlodic acid had been formed. To 
test for the hydrlodic acid, about one pound of the decolorized syrup was put 
in a glass retort, and heat applied until half an ounce was distilled over. 
This liquid was found to be a watery solution of hydroldio acid. Nitrate of 
silver produced a yellow precipitate of iodide of silver, and starch became 
blue upon the addition of chlorine water. 

A solution of iodine in sugar and water, in which iodine is more soluble 
than in water, has a dark-red color ; sun light changes It to white, and no free 
iodine can be found In the decolorized liquid, and all reactions show that the 
Iodine Is changed into hydrlodic acid. The same change takes place In an 
alcoholic solution of iodine, and In a watery solution of iodine In Iodide of 
potassium. The process given above is a very easy and simple one for test- 
ing syrup of Iodide of iron for hydrlodic acid. How far the medical proper- 
ties of the syrup are affected can only be determined by the careful observa- 
tion of physicians ; but it is obvious that a dark syrup should never be used, 
in consequence of its containing free iodine. 



Pharmacy, considered In its primitive signification. Is an art whose objects 
were the choice and preparation of the most simple remedies capable of re- 
lieving the suiferings to which man is heir. No people has been found, no 
matter how barbarous, who were not acquainted with this art. Mankind in a 
rude state of society, be their occupation the hunting of wild beasts or 
the agriculture of the earth, have constantly under their observation the vege- 
table kingdom and its wide field which Nature spreads before them, from 
which they can select remedies to heal their wounds or cure their diseases. 
The knowledge of vegetables, their selection, and the simple manipulation 
required before applying them to allay suffering, were known to every peo- 


pie, were born, as it were, with their first wants, and advanced with the revo 
lutions and progress of the human mind. In following the history of this 
progress, we arrive at an epoch, when, by the union of a multitude of facts 
before isolated and divided, a distinct science is necessarily brought to 
light. The division of all bodies into three classes, as most adapted to the 
universal plan of nature, is indicated in the most ancient books and first 
annals of the world. The philosophers of former days, the naturalists of 
modern times have agreed to this division. Those who follow us will be 
obliged to conform to the same, as one of those truths which time cannot 
change, and which future centuries will still acknowledge as the best. In 
the language of the celebrated Linne, " Mineralia crescunt, Vegetabilia cres- 
cunt et vivunt, Animalia crescunt vivunt et sentiunt." 

Vegetables were first used as medicines. The mode of preparing them 
was simple. The offices of doctor and apothecary were united in the same 
individual, who was much respected. According to Herodotus and Strabo, 
it was a general custom among the Babylonians to expose their sick persons 
to the view of the passers, so as to learn from them if they had been afflicted 
by similar diseases, and ascertain by what remedies they had been cured. 
Pliny tells us that the art of physic, founded by Eseulapius during the Ti-ojan 
war, was buried in darkness during the Peloponnesian war, when Hippocrates 
restored it to its former honor and credit. Virgil, in speaking of a celebrated 
physician who was instructed by Apollo in the art of physic, confines the 
profession to the knowledge of simples. " Scire potestates herbarum usum- 
que medendi molent." The art of pharmacy must have flourished in Egypt, 
which for so many centuries was the great emporium of the East; but to 
what extent we cannot justly sa}'. The study of medicines was surrounded 
with so many regulations that the progress must have been slow. The priests 
from the temples of the gods dispensed their favors in a mysterious manner 
to the untutored. Among the Jews the apothecary possessed considerable 
influence ; but we know little of the details of his practice. The most reli- 
able accounts we have of the art of physic being practised by a distinct class 
of men are from the East. In the temples of Eseulapius men were trained 
to practise medicine and pharmacy. Among the priests a stock of knowl- 
edge was preserved, and transmitted to their successors. It was customarv 
for persons cured by the prescriptions of the priests to hang up in the temples 
tablets on which were written the names of the disease and the remedies bv 
which it had been cured. This was one of the usual methods of preserving 
the knowledge of the Materia Medica. Hippocrates, Avhom history has 
handed down to us as a celebrated practitioner, was educated by the priests 
of Eseulapius. His first work, called " De Herbis," was written 459 years 
before the Christian era. Li it he mentions the properties of 234 medicinal 
plants. His Materia Medica was vegetable ; his treatment confined to the 
use of simples and general hygienic ordinances. Hippocrates was an 
apothecary as well as physician, and can be claimed with as much right 


as the founder of S3'stematic pharmacy as the father of physic. After 
the age of Hippocrates, we have the writings of some Greek physicians to 
enlighten us on the progress of pharmacy. We can mention Aristotle, Theo- 
phrastus, Erasistratus, Herophilus, his disciple, Philinus of Cas ; also Sera- 
phion of Alexandria. 

Under the teachings of the dogmatic school of Alexandria, pharmacj'- was 
held in high repute. Those who sold medicines were divided into several 
classes. The pharmacutfe resembled the pharmaceutists of the present day ; 
kept stores and dispensed medicines. The seplasiarii were druggists; sold 
perfumes as well as drugs. The hei'baril and rhizotomi sold herbs and roots. 
The empirical school arose after the time of Herophilus. Philinus or Sera- 
phion was the founder. If the favor and contributions of the great could 
have helped this new sect, they were not wanting, since we know that gene- 
rals, kings, queens, and princes claimed alliance with the empirics, giving 
their names to compounds which were reputed to perform wonderful cures. 

When the Romans became masters of the world, and Greece a Roman 
province, Greek physicians and pharmaceutists settled at Rome. Among 
them, and not the Romans, can we find much taste for medical science. 
Asclepiades, a Greek, became an eminent practitioner in the proud city of 
the Csesars. He used but few medicines ; contributed but little towards the 
progress of pharmacy. His theory, no doubt, gave rise to the methodical 
school, of which Themison of Laodicea was soon after the founder. Cato the 
Censor was the first Roman who wrote on medicine ; then Cornelius Celsus, 
also a native of Italy. Scriboneus Largus is the next writer on Materia 
Medica. His nomenclature, like that of Celsus, is very uncertain. They 
both studied poisons and their antidotes ; but arrived at no clear perception 
of either. Poisons and their antidotes had been commented upon long before 
this by NIeander of Colophon. He is the author of the " Theriaca " and " De 
Alexipharmacis." Quack medicines, after this period, were reputed by many 
as the only true remedies. The quacks, then as now, found dupes among the 
ignorant and credulous. The mania of composition was carried to its height 
by Andromachus, senior, the author of the " Theriaca Andromachi," which 
enjoyed until the middle of the last century such a high repute. Dioscorides, 
living in the reign of the emperor Vespasian, wrote a work on botany. 
Many of his opinions are erroneous. Almost contemporary with Dioscorides 
lived the elder Pliny. He did much for Materia ISIedica, and pi-otested 
against the compositions then in vogue. In speaking of the famous " Mithrid- 
aticum Antidoton" he says : " Quo deorum perfidiam istara monstrante ? 
Hominum enim subtilitas tanta esse non 2J0tuIt ostentatio artis et portentosa 
scientisB renditatis manifesta est." 

Soon after Pliny, lived the celebrated Galen, a native of Pergamus in Asia 
Minor. After studying at the most celebrated schools, he settled at Rome, 
and became the founder of a system of pharmacy and practice of medicine 
which was followed in Asia, Africa, and Europe for fourteen centuries. The 


doctrines promulgated by Galen were many of them similar to those of Hip- 
pocrates. In trying to divert the Ilippocratic school from the absurdities 
which surrounded it, he believed in doctrines equally ridiculous. Galen ar- 
ranged in scientific order the uncertain medical information of his predeces- 
sors, meriting by his perseverance and talents to be the chief of the system 
which still bears his name. 

After Galen, no particular change in the practice of pharmacy occurred 
among the Greeks or Romans. Actius, Oribasius, and others wrote works 
on Materia ]\Ied:ca. They may, however, be called compilations from the 
books of Galen. After the destruction of the Roman empire, we find phar- 
macy declined among the Greeks, and transplanted among the Arabians, no 
doubt by Greeks whom persecution or devastation had forced to seek refuge 
either in Asia or Africa. From the Arabian schools, physicians and pharma- 
ceutists were sent to revive the study of pharmacy and practice of medicine 
in western Europe, after centuries of total ignorance. Still it was the Galen- 
ical system, with some modifications and additions to the ^Materia Medica. 

Among our own ancestors, barbarous, uncultivated as they are generally 
supposed to have been, we find there existed a considerable knowledge of the 
healing art. By our ancestors, I mean the Celti, the Cimbri, the Galli, the 
Germani, &e., &c. In the poem of Oithona, we read of a chief who had been 
a diligent student of Esculapius. " Can the hand of Gaul heal thee ? " he asks ; 
" I have searched for the herbs of the mountains ; I have gathered them on the 
secret banks of their streams ; my hand has closed the wound of the brave." 
Fingal is celebrated for his Cuach fJtinn, or medical cup, in Celtic tradition. 
Cassar, in his " Bello Gallico," tells us the Druids were physicians as well as 
ministers of religion. Pliny mentions the Celts of Spain as expert in know- 
ing the medicinal virtues of herbs growing in that country. The Gauls and 
their neighbors, no doubt, believed that the potency of herbs was gained by 
mysterious ceremonies. Their physicians, the Druids, encouraged this belief; 
wonderful cures were supposed to be made ; strength also to resist pain ob- 
tained by the application of certain herbs. " Where," says Pliny, " were 
those potent herbs among the Cimbri, when they were so completely routed 
that they yelled again ? " The prescriptions were chiefly confined to prepara- 
tions made of herbs. The inhabitants of the isles and sea-coasts mixed sea 
weeds with the herbs. In adding up the different simples used, we find they 
amount to about fifty ; among which are, the betony, the cochlaria, the golden 
rod, the hellebore, the plaintain, the spirewort, and the vervaine. In apply- 
ing these simples, superstitious ceremonies were performed, in the efhcacy of 
which the people believed ; but we should overlook this in the customs of our 
so-called savage, untutored sires, when we recollect that Socrates, dying, told 
his friend Crito to sacrifice a cock to Esculapius ; that Galen worshipped 
Esculapius as a god ; and, more recently, that the last of the Tudors of Eng- 
land received from Sir Christopher Hatton a ring to protect her from the 
plague. We may add the history of the well-attested cure of Lady Baird, of 


Sauchtenliall, near Edinburgh, by the Lee penny, which was also borrowed 
by the town of Newcastle, to protect it from the plague. 

In different parts of Europe are preserved Arabic, Greek, and Latin medi- 
cal manuscripts. The libraries of France, Germany, and Italy contain a 
varied, valuable number. The public library of Bodley, at Oxford, and that of 
Baron Thomas Philipps, in Worcestershire, are worthy of note. The libraries 
of Emmanuel, Trinity, Pembroke, Corpus Christi, Saint John, Saint Peter, 
and the University of Cambridge, contain many valuable Greek and Latin 
manuscripts. Some Greek manuscripts are more numerous than others. The 
works of Galen, for instance, copied from Oribasius, are frequently found, as 
well as copies of the receipts and formularies of Galen and Dioscorides. In 
England the Latin manuscripts are numerous. Among those of the seventh, 
eighth, and ninth centuries are the Antidotarii of Micalaus, Aurelius, Gario- 
pontus, Theodorus, Priscianus, some traductions of Hippocrates and Galen, 
as well as Oribasius. In many libraries are translations of the Arabian and 
Greek authors. In the fifteenth century, when medicine began to divide 
itself into several systems, the foreign manuscripts are replaced by those of 
authors, natives of the countries in which they are still preserved. Among 
the most ancient pharmaceutical formularies still extant, are copies of the 
formularies of Stephen of Athens, and those of John of Alexandria. 

The history of ancient medical manuscripts affords a wide field for instruc- 
tion. At some future time we may be able to dwell more on this subject. 

In this synopsis, we have arrived at the time when Galenical pharmacy 
began to decline, to give place to a more potent system of practice. The 
history of pharmacy, up to the sixteenth century, may be divided into two 
periods, — the days of Hippocrates and his successors, and those of Galen 
and his disciples. 

In the beginning of the sixteenth century, chemistry produced a complete 
revolution in the European practice of pharmacy. Its progress had been 
slow ; but its ultimate triumph over the theories of the Galenical school, was 
only a question of time. We find it grappling with the reputed infallible 
<loctriiies of the day, and finally overcome them. 

Let us examine the interesting history of this science. 

About the third or fourth century of the Christian era, arose a singular 
bewitching art, the principal object of which was the transmutation of metals, 
or the making of gold and silver by artificial means. This art, called alchem- 
istry, or hermetic art, was practised in Greece and Egypt about the same time. 
The fourth century saw its rise ; the seventh, its downfall, after having spread 
itself over the civilized world. The transmutation of metals into gold and 
silver was to be accomplished by the agency of a certain substance, called the 
philosophei's stone or powder, which was said also to cure diseases and pro- 
long human life. The alchemists were, we must acknowledge, the first in- 
ventors of an experimental rule, having for object the solution of a scientific 
problem. By uniting a number of facts and discoveries appertaining to 


bodies, proving phenomena by the examination of facts, they necessarily laid 
the foundat on of the science of chemistry, to which pharmacy owes the high 
position it now holds. The alchemists sought what they did not find, — the 
"philosopher's stone;" they found what they did not seek for, — "chemistry," 
a more precious pearl for the world than the icjnis falua they so passionately 
pursued, and in vain expected. Among those who professed alchcniistry 
were, no doubt, men whose ignorance brought contempt on the works of the 
true alchemists. Alchemistry was practised by a member of every family of 
respectability. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, investigations of this 
art were pursued even in the cabins of the poor. Franz Gassman says, in his 
" Examen A Ichemisticum" — 

" Presque tout le monde vent etre appele alchimiste, 
Un grossier idiot, le gar9on et le vieiUard, 
Le barbier, la vieille femme, un couseiller fec^tieng, 
Le moine tonder, le pretre et le soldat." 

Geber, an Arab of the eighth century, may be called the father of chem- 
istry. In his works called the " Sum of Perfection," and " Treatise on 
Furnaces," he gives descriptions of the operations he used in chemical inves- 
tigations, which differ little from those of the present day. To the alchemists, 
we must confess, belongs the honor of the first chemical experiments. They 
prepared the elements necessary for, and may be justly named the founders 
of, modern chemistry. Geber, in his writings, describes mercury, silver, lead, 
brass, gold, sulphur, and arsenic. In his " Treatlce de Alchlmla " he tells 
how to make aqua fords and aqui} recjia. Mention first is made by him of 
several chemical compounds constantly dispensed by pharmaceutists, — lapis 
infernalis, corrosive sublimate, red precipitate, liver of sulphur, milk of sul- 
phur, &c., &c. In the ninth century, Rhases, another Arab, discovered the 
preparation of brandy. He recommends several pharmaceutical prepara- 
tions, of which alcohol is the vehicle. He mentions borax, some combina- 
tions of sulphur, salts of mercury, &c., &c. The Materia Medica of Aben- 
Guefith and the Hawl of Rhases, show that pharmacy and the practice of 
medicine could at this remote period be greatly Improved by the discoveries 
of the alchemists. In the thirteenth century, Albert the Great made caustic 

Raymond Lulle wrote an excellent work, called, " Ars Magna;" made 
first carbonate of potassa, rectified spirits of wine, prepared essential oils, and 
prepared mild mercury, hydrargyrum mite. Basil Valentine, a German al- 
chemist, wrote a work called, " Currus Triomphalis Antlmonil," in which he 
describes the properties of antimony, spirits of salts, or acidum hydrochloricum. 
He made first sulphuric acid, and was a close observer of the different pheno- 
mena occurring during his chemical experiments. The alchemists knew how 
to make some of the most active chemical compounds of the present day. 
They volatilized mercury, concentrated alcohol, made sulphuric ether, nitric 


acid, different kinds of ethers. Eck of Sulybach, a German alchemist in the 
fifteenth century, believed in the existence of oxigene. Van Helmont proved 
that there were different gases. Brandt discovered phosphorus. 

Attemjits were made by some practitioners to introduce chemical com- 
pounds into the practice of medicine, but with little success. From the words 
of Gordonius, a writer of the fifteenth century, author of the " Lilium Mede- 
cinse," we can judge of the prevailing opinion. " Quia," says Gordonius, 
" modus chiraicus in multis utilis est, sed in aliis est tristabilis quod in ejus via 
infinitissimi pei'ierunt." 

To Paracelsus, a native of Switzerland, belongs the honor of successfully 
introducing chemical compounds into the European practice of medicine. 
Pharmaceutist, as well as physician, he directed the discoveries of chemistrj- 
to the renovation of pharmacy and improvement of the Materia Mediea. By 
his indomitable energy and perseverance and confidence in his own theories, 
he levelled the first great blow at Galenical pharmacy. Treating the practi- 
tioners of the old school with contempt, he cured, Avith his chemical compounds, 
the diseases which baffled their skill. The Galenical system is shaken to its 
very foundation, and soon crumbles to pieces under the attacks of his dis- 
ciples. For a hundred years after the death of Paracelsus, a continual war 
was waged between the disciples of Paracelsus, called chemists, and the 
Galenists. Pharmacy advanced slowly. Geoffroy and the two Lemerys are 
worthy of our notice. Geoffroy became noted as a manufacturer of pharma- 
ceutical preparations. He is the author of the first " Paris Pharmacopoeia." 
The Lemerys gave public lectures on chemistry, Materia Mediea, and phar- 
macy. Schraeder published a work called " Pharmacopoeia Medico Chym- 
ica," in which he united the Galenical and chemical pharmacy. Bauchin 
wrote on the nature of plants used in pharmacy; then Cliomel, Lieutand, 
and others. Among the British authors are Dr. Lewis, and Dr. Rutty, of 
Dublin. The latter is the author of the " Materia Mediea Antiqua et 

We will not stop to notice in detail the pharmacy of the sixteenth and 
seventeeth centuries. It will not repay our time. It was only when Priestly, 
Lavoisier, and Cavendish investigated the gases, and showed the compound 
nature of air and water ; after Guyton, Morveau, Lavoisier, Bertholiet, and 
Fourcroy laid down the true chart of modern chemistry, gave a new constitu- 
tion to the science, in reforming the nomenclature ; not until after the dis- 
coveries of Berzelius, Davy, Gay, Lussac, Thenard, Liebeg, and Dumas that 
chemistry became a real science, and pharmacy, the handmaid of cliemlstry, 
could take the honorable position it now holds in the civilized world. 

In China, Persia, and Turkey, the Galenical ])harmacy still predominates. 
We know little of Japanese pharmacy. We cannot, however, believe the 
statement of a recent traveller and historian, who say« that the Japanese ar« 
deficient in the knowledge of medicine and surgery. 


In America and Europe pharmacy is in a flourishing condition. The em- 
piric school of medicine, however, is found in both countries, in spite of all 
the progress we have made. So it will always be, Jis long as men will prosti- 
tute their calling, as long as the sole desire to make money prevails, at the 
expense of a noble profession and conscience. 

To the colleges of phai'macy and pharmaceutical associations belongs the 
privilege of discarding from being members of the profession, ignorant men. 
Already much has been done by the different colleges and associations in 
this country for the advancement of pharmacy. They have shown, also, that 
the profession of pharmaceutist in America can compare favorably with that 
of any other country, and that we are in no respect inferior to any other 



Among the questions proposed last year for investigation, the following was 
accepted by me : — 

" What is the most eligible process for obtaining Polygalic acid from Senega? 
In what proportion does it exist in that root ? And what are the forms for 
prescribing it as substitutes for the prejDarations of seneka ? " 

Seneka snake root, as one of the most efficient American contributions to 
the Materia Medica, early attracted the attention of European pharmaceutists 
and chemists, and at least half a dozen analyses of it had been published more 
than twenty years ago, when it was very fully investigated by Quevenne, 
(Jour, de Pharm., 1836, 449) in his inaugural essay sustained at the School of 
Pharmacy, at Paris. 

According to this analysis the constituents of seneka are as follows, viz. : — 


Polygalic acid, 

Virgineic acid, 

Pectic acid, 

Tannic acid. 

Bitter yellow coloring matter, 

Gum, Albumen, &c., 

Cerin, and fixed oil. 


Carbonate Phosphate and Sulphate 

of Potassa, 
Chloride of Potassium, 
Carbonate, Sulphate, and Phosphate 

of Lime, 
Alumina, Magnesia, Silica, and Iron. 

Polygalic acid, so called by Quevenne, was previously made known in a less 
pure state, as senefjin, by Gehlin. It is the active constituent of the root, 
although some inffuence may be due to the virgineic acid and coloring princi- 
ple. It may also be noticed that both Dulong and Foeuuille found malic acid 
in this root, united with lime and potassa. 

It may not be out of place to state the characteristics of this substance, as it 


is certainly deserving of a better destiny than has thus far been accorded to 
it. Polygalic acid is a white amorphous powder, without any tendency to 
crystallize, and is unalterable in the air. It is inodorous when pure, but is 
apt to retain traces of virgineic acids. Its taste, at first but slight, soon becomes 
pungent and acrid, and produces a painful constriction of the throat. When 
its dust is inhaled through the nostrils, irritation and violent sneezing occur. 
It is not volatile; when burnt in a tube it affords no nitrogen, and is wholly 
combustible. Polygalic dissolves slowly in cold water, but readily in hot 
WBter, forming a solution which reddens litmus paper, and froths strongly by 
agitation. It is soluble in boiling alcohol, but the larger part separates on 
cooling. It is soluble in diluted alcohol, but the solution has a tendency to 
deposit It on standing. It is absolutely insoluble In ether, and In acetic ether, 
the fixed and volatile oils. It Is soluble in alkaline solutions, with the produc- 
tion of a greenish yellow coloration. It is precipitated in its free state by 
subacetate of lead, and proto nitrate of mercury, but by no other salts ; various 
salts throw it down from solution when it is combined with an excess of 
potassa or soda. When heated with nitric acid it affords oxalic and pleric 
acids, and sulphuric acid decomposes it with a rose and violet color. The 
acid character of this substance is so slight that it will not decompose the 
carbonate, yet it forms amorphous salts with alkaline and metallic bases. 
Quevenne suspected a close relationship between polygalic acid and saponin. 
More recently (Annl. der Chemie. and Amer. Jour. Pharm., vol. xxvii., 43) M. 
Bolley has resumed the Inquiry, and believes that both saponin and polygalic 
acid are glucosldes, like salicin resolved by hydrochloric acid, into sugar and a 
derivative body sapogenln, and that their formula is the same. 

Preparation of Polygalic Acid. The particular object of this paper is the 
preparation and administration of this substance. The original process of 
Quevenne required precipitation by acetate of lead, and the action of sulphu- 
retted hydrogen ; but he afterwards greatly simplified the process, but 
retained some complications not necessary to obtain the acid sufiiciently pure 
for medicinal use. The process I have tried several times, and has the merit 
of great simplicity. ^ 

Take of senega, in powder, (50 meshes to the inch) 10000 grs. 


Ether and water, of each a suflicient quantltj'. 
Moisten the senega with half a pint of a mixture of two parts of alcohol and 
one part of water, pack it in a large glass funnel; cover the surface with a 
piece of muslin, or pa})er, and pour on the same liquid until three pints have 
slowly passed by drops, or until the root is nearly exhausted. Evaporate this 
tincture to twelve fiuid ounces, which removes nearly the whole of the akohol, 
and then agitate it with repeated portions of ether, until the latter ceases to 
acquire color, decanting each portion before adding the next, which requires 
about a pint and a half The syrupy liquid is now mixed with a pint and a 


half of strong alcohol, and half a pint of ether, well agitated several times and 
set aside to repose. The polvgalic acid being nearly insoluble in this men- 
struum, precipitates as a bulky light fawn-colored precipitate. If on adding 
a small portion of the clear liquid to a similar mixture of ether and alcohol, no 
precipitate occurs; the whole of the polvgalic acid capable of being thus thrown 
down has been separated. The supernatant liquid is new cai-efuUy decanted 
from the precipitate, which is thrown on to a filter and carefully washedwith a 
mixture of two parts of alcohol and one of ether, till the adhering colored 
liquid has all been displaced. The filter is then spread on an absorbent sur- 
face of paper, pressed strongly, the mass broken into small fragments, dried, 
and powdered. The resulting powder weighs .550 grains; 5^ per cent, of the 
weight of the senega, making allowance for wastage senega, may be said to 
contain one-sixteenth of its weight of this substance, and consequently three 
grains will equal an ounce of the root. 

In this state polvgalic acid is not pure, but is sufficiently so for all medical 
purposes. It retains traces of coloring matter, and of some substances which 
are separated by the ether, but in very small amount. By re-dissolving it in 
hot water, and precipitating with the mixture of ether and alcohol, and after- 
wards dissolving it in hot alcohol, with animal charcoal, and filtering hot, it is 
obtained quite white. 

The ethereal working liquids first obtained were evaporated till no ether 
remained. The residue consisted of a dark amber-colored fixed oil. admixed 
with crystals of virgineic acid, which formed a crust on its surface, and a 
dense aqueous solution of the same acid, which strongly affected litmus paper. 

The liquid from which the polygalic acid precipitated was allowed to stand a 
month, when the sides and bottom of the vessel were spangled with a cystalline 
matter, in small quantity. This substance is soluble in water, when heated ; 
less soluble in alcohol ; gritty between the teeth ; has no taste of senega ; fuses 
by heat; blackens and is almost entirely consumed. Concentrated SO^ dis- 
solves them with heat without the evolution of either ammonia or H. CI. Its 
aqueous solution is not precipitated by either chloride of barium or nitrate of 
silver. A crystal placed on moistened litmus paper produced a reddish spot. 
It is possible that this substance is an acid salt of malic or some analogous 
acid. The small quantity of ash it leaves is alkaline. The investigation was 
not pushed further. 

The liquid, from which the crystal deposited by evaporation, yielded an 
extract tasting strongly of senega. 

As regards the pharmaceutical applications of polygalic acid, several experi- 
ments were made : — 

1. Five grains of the acid in a fluid ounce of water, kept in a vial for two 
months, acquired a foetid odor, whilst a portion of matter precipitated, yet the 
taste of the solution was strongly that of senega. 

2. Five grains of the acid were dissolved in an ounce of cold Avater, with five 



grains of bi-carbonate of potassa, and kept the same length of time. This 
solution also spoiled, but retained its senega taste. 

The best form of prescribing polygalic acid, in liquid form, is with syrup of 
gum arable, to blunt its acrimony. It is necessary to dissolve it in a little hot 
water, and add it warm to the syrup of gum, and mix them. It may also be 
added to syrup of ipecacuanha to increase its expectorant power. But the 
form best adapted to administer this principle is in pills and powders. In 
doses of one or two grains (which represent 15 to 30 grains of senega) the full 
effect of a table spoonful and a fluid ounce of decoction of senega is obtained. 
Where a more gentle effect is desired, the dose must of course be greatly 
reduced, to J- or ;! of a grain, and can be associated with ipecac, tartar emetic, 
and other medicine with which senega is given. When the form of powders is 
adopted, a mixture of powder gum and sugar should always be added to blunt 
the acrimony of the polygalic acid. Sugar of milk triturated with the acid, in 
the proportion of 1 grain to 9 grains, is an eligible form for use. 

In cough mixtures, when not contra-indicated or incompatible, the addition 
of an equal weight of bi-carbonate of potassa facilitates its solution. It is not 
advisable to keep a permanent liquid preparation of polygalic acid, leaving 
that form ibr the officinal syrup, but it undoubtedly offers an admirable means 
of using senega in the forms above Indicated, when the physician can regulate 
the dose and associate It with other remedies In the nicest manner. 


In answer to the Query No. 33, the following report is respectfully sub- 

The seed of the Sorghum Saccharatum was Introduced into our country, 
probably, for the first time, In the fall of the year, 1854, by a Boston house, 
and distributed In small parcels to various parts of the Union. During the 
winter and spring following, other seed, to a limited amount, were disseminated 
from the agricultural department of the Patent Office. Experiments were 
made In Its culture upon a very small scale, by myself and a few others In 
Georgia during the year 1855, and it was observed that the growth was 
healthly and vigorous, that It required no nursing or extra care, that the cul- 
tivation was easy and simple, that the seed matured perfectly, and lastly, that 
the pith of the stalks was firm, crispy, and brittle, and remarkably sweet and 
sugary to the taste. 

During the month of Septemder, 1855, from the few immature canes at my 
disposal, I expressed a small quantity, say 20 ounces, of pale green juice, and 
without any attempt at defecation, boiled it rapidly down to four ounces of 
rather thick syrup, to render it more portable, and avoid for a time fermenta- 
tion. When examined a few months subsequently it was found to have de- 
posited a granular mattei', o;;cupying, say one-fifth of its bulk, wliicli deposit 
was supposed from its appearance to contain sugar. The two portions were 


separated, the syrup diluted with water, precipitated by basic acetate lead, 
afterwards by H S, and evaporated under the air pump, with occasional use 
of moderate heat, to a granular and nearly dry saccharine mass weighing 880.5 

The deposited portion was treated with a mixture of alcohol and ether equal 
parts, and the resulting solution, evaporated to dryness, left globules of chlo- 
rophyl and a resinous body of decided acid and bitter taste. The residue was 
dissolved in water, filtered, passed through bone black, treated with basic 
acetate and sulphuretted hydrogen evaporated to dryness, and yielded 127 
grains saccharine matter. 

The two products were re-dissolved, filtered, and evaporated, yieldimr a fair 
sample of brown sugar in small crystals, and the drip, by long standing, depos- 
ited a few crystals of such size and definite shape as to require only the eye to 
determine them to be true cane sugar. 

My samples were exhibited at one of the pharmaceutical meetings of the 
Philadelphia College, and sent home that my friends might examine them, and 
prepare for a more satisfactory experiment the ensuing season. Durino- the 
year 1856, in Georgia, perhaps ten acres were planted, while seed in larger 
quantity had been sent out from the Patent Office, and cultivated in gardens 
in probably every State in the Union. In August of that year. Ex- Gov. 
Hammond, of South Carolina, reported to the Beech Island Farmers' Club, 
the first successful experiment in the manufacture of syrup, from a patch of a 
half acre. In September, Mr. Peters, of Atlanta, Georgia, published the re- 
sults of experiments upon a still larger scale, and from more mature cane. 
He kept careful notes of the yield from two measured patches, one-eighth of an 
acre each, the best and worst samples of the crop, and reported from the 
former : 

3315 canes yielded juice, s. g. 1.085, . . . 253 gallons, 
yielded syrup, s. g. 1.335, . . . 58|^ " 

Estimated per acre, 468 " 

From the poorest .- 

2550 canes, yielded juice, s. g. 1.085, • . . 179 gallons, 
yielded syrup, s. g. 1.335, . . . 43^ " 

Estimated per acre, 346 " 

A rough experiment was made for the manufacture of sugar, from 20 gallons 
of syrup, boiled down in a cow-pot over an open fire and tested bv the eye. 
The result was a thick magma of finely granulated sugar and molasses, which 
refused to purge itself by dripping. 

Thirty of the stalks were weighed, crushed, and dried in the sun, with the 
following result : 

Juice collected from mill, . . . 26Jg or 49.30 per cent. 

Juice lost in mill, ^^ or .70 " " 

Juice lost in bagass, .... 1 7i| or 34.50 " " 

Moody fibre, &c., 8^8g or 15.50 « " 


The syrup made by Mr. Peters was excellent, and, by all -wbo tested its 
table qualities, pronounced superior to the best sold here as New Orleans 

Thissuccessful experiment in syrup-making created some enthusiasm among 
our farmers in this and adjoining States, and indeed to a greater or less extent 
throutrhout the Avhole country. The seed was in much request and eagerly 
bouf^ht up, large importations were made from abroad, and the cultuie for the 
year 185 7 greatly extended. During this year there were perhaps between 
four and five thousand farmers supplied with seed from the State of Georgia 
alone. lu my own county over one hundred acres were grown and probably 
fi'om two to three hunch-ed acres in a county adjoining. So widespread has 
the culture become all over the land, it is impossible for me to offer even an 
approximate estimate. The manufacture of syrup from the juice has become 
very general, and this of almost every conceivable quality, some of it of very 
delicate and superior flavor, much that may be pronounced good, very much 
that is decidedly bad and even worthless. So great has been the variation in 
quality, and also in the relative quantity of the syrup produced by different par- 
ties in the same locality, that it has been difficult to come to any positive conclu- 
sion as to the value of the plant for this use, nor has it been altogether possible 
to ascertain fully the causes for the wide discrepancy exhibited in the results. 

It is evident that few, comparatively, of those who have boiled the juice are 
well informed of the principles involved in the process, while nearly all are 
entirely destitute of any practical experience in the treatment of saccharine 
juices. The apparatus in use is generally of a primitive and quite defective 
character, unsuitable for securing the best results. 

Aside from the obstacles encountered in the manufacture, there is as yet no 
well known standard of maturity of the cane ; much of it has been cut too early, 
some is left too late. In the former case, an excess of both water and vegeta- 
ble refuse is encountered, and in the latter a loss both in juice and sugar. 
It has been found that those external marks in the stalk and seed which in- 
dicate the culminating point here will not answer for the North, nor is it be- 
lieved that this point is always a constant quantity in the same locality with 
different seasons and treatment of the plant. 

The quantity grown upon the soil is also of imjjortance ; if it be too much 
crov/ded, the juice is poor; and if too thin, a loss is made in the quantity of 
saccharine matter ; so also is a difference observed if the plants be " suckered "* 
or not. Variety in soils is found to affect the composition as well as quantity of 
juice very materially ; different seasons, as to quantity of rain, influence the 
crop in a marked degree. 

An effort has been made to determine some of the practical points con- 
nected with this enteq)rise ; with a view of solving the problem of the extensive 
manufacture of sugar and syrup from the sorghum in this country. Although 
some doubt was at first entertained whether the sorghum grown in the Northern 

* The removal of the small slioots, or suckers. 



States yielded cane sugar, in consequence of the unsuccessful search at first 
made by a chemist of Boston, (I believe Dr. Jackson,) no such doubt has ex- 
isted as reirards its production at the South. It was extracted upon an exper- 
imental scale by myself from the few canes grown in 1855, and again upon a 
larger scale in 1856, and also in 1857. Further experiments in JMas-saehusetts, 
New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, have fully and definitely 
settled the question for the North also. 

The quantity of saccharine matter obtained by different experimenters has, 
of course, varied widely with the varying circumstances of cHmate, season, 
soil, culture, stage of maturity, &c. From my own immature juice in 1855, I 
obtained 10|^ per cent, of crude saccharine matter. Dr. Jackson examined, 
the following year, samples grown in Massachusetts, and also in Washington. 
The former yielded from 10|^ to 14;^ per cent. The latter from 9 to 14^. In 
1857, the same experimenter obtained from Massachusetts samples d^ to 10|- 
per cent., and from AVashington samples 12|^ to 16^ per cent. M. Vilmorin, 
of Paris, reports as the result of his experiments upon a juice of S. G. 1.052 
from 10 to IG per cent., and M. Avequin, of New Orleans, from juice of S. G. 
1.0G4 — 151 per cent. The summer of 1856, in my particular section, was 
remarkably favorable for the growth and maturity of the cane. I did not de- 
termine the relative ciuantity of saccharine matter, but the S. G. (1.085,) was 
higher than any obtained before or since, while the relative quantity and 
quality of the syrup nfiide indicated a larger percentage of cane sugar. There 
is reason to believe that under favorable circumstances, the saccharine per- 
centage of the juice may reach 18 to 20, of which but two or three per cent, 
shall be of the uncrystallizable variety. 

During the fall of 1857, daily observations of the specific gravity and per- 
centage of crystallizable or cane sugar of the sorgho juice, were made, with the 
view of determining the proper stage of maturity for harvesting the crop. The 
observations were taken with a hydrometer of pretty good accuracy and the 
polarization apparatus of Mistcherlich. 


S. G. of juice. 

Per cent, cane sugar. 

Sept. 24, 25, and 26, 


Sept. 28, ... . 

. 1.050 


Sept. 28, (different soil,) . 



Sept. 29, . 

. 1.060 


Sept. 29, (different soil,) . 



Sept. 30, . 

. 1.055 


Oct. 1, 



Oct. 2, .... 

. 1.060 


Oct. 3, 



Oct. 10, • . . . 

. 1.053 


Oct. 18, . 



On the 30th of Sept., three mature canes were examined; they were large 
and more mature than the average working stock, the seed being quite 


hard and brittle. The juice gave a S. G. 1.065, and contained 12.68 of crys- 
tallizable sugar. A sample from another part of the same field, and which had 
not been suckered in the previous culture, gave a S. G. 1.045, and had only 
4.51 of cystallizable sugar. 

Oct. 1st, a lot of fully matured canes of prime quality were examined and 
the several joints pressed separately : 

1st joint, (from the ground,) .... 12.30 per cent. 

2d joint, 11.89 " " 

3d joint, . . 10.83 " " 

4th joint, 11.04 " " 

5th joint, 9.34 " " 

Gthjoint, 9.98 " " 

7th joint, 8.70 " " 

The sugar is first developed in the upper joints and gradually appears be- 
low, until the upper portions pass the culminating point before the lower ones 
reach it. 

Another sample, in which the seed had just passed the milk stage and cut 
soft and doughy under the knife, yielded 1 2. 72 from the entire juice. Another, 
with the seed beginning to harden and cut cheesy under the knife, gave 11.89, 
A sample in which the cutting of the seed reminded one of cheese rind had 
7.75 per cent. Another had matured the seed fully, the stalk and blade were 
turning quite yellow, had S. G. 1.060, and gave only 5.94 per cent. 

These experiments, somewhat conflicting with each other, were not fully sat- 
isfactory as to the proper period or stage of ripening to cut the cane, but I 
was of the opinion that for either sugar or syrup, in this climate, the cane 
should be green and succulent, fodder also green, midrib just beginning to be 
dotted red, cellular structure, white, tinged with green, firm and solid ; seed 
just beginning to be tipped red upon the inner envelope, just beyond the 
milk stage, cuts soft and doughy under the knife, the bottom joint is sweet 
but not more so than the top. It was quite evident that suckering the cane 
improves the quality of the juice in a marked degree. 

The sorgho juice contains a larger relative quantity of pectine than that of 
the sugar cane, and its development is greatly influenced by the soil ; so 
abundant is it in some localities that the syrup gelatinizes and becomes 
unfit for use. The particular characters of soil which favor the excessive 
development of pectine have not been investigated. It has been currently 
believed among syrup boilers, that the sorgho juice would not bear a high 
temperature and rapid boiling towards the close of the process. Dr. Jack- 
son in his report contained in the Patent Office volume for 1857, observes 
upon this point: " It may now be boiled down quite rapidly to about half its 
oriorinal bulk, after which the fire must be kept low, the evaporation to be 
carried on with great caution, and the syrup constantly stirrcil to prevent it 
from burning at the bottom of the kettle or evaporating pan." This I believe 


to be a fatal error, both in the manufacture of sugar and syrup, as the follow- 
ing experiment will show: An ordinary deep cow pot of 80 gallons capacity, 
was filled with juice and defecated as usual. I had prepared a cpantity of 
dry pitch pine, split up quite small, and also a liberal quantity of fat lightwood 
(old dry pitch pine saturated with the inspissated turpentine, equivalent to the 
staves of rosin barrels,) started a brisk fire, and pushed it to the utmost 
capacity of the furnace ; the bricks became white hot wherever the fire could 
reach them, the flame streamed out at the chimney top at a distance of twelve 
feet from the ground, and it was with difficulty we could maintain our positions 
around the furnace. Two hands were kept constantly employed in dipping 
and pouring back the foam to keep the pot and its contents together. The 
result was 16 gallons of syrup, the finest sample of near three thousand gal- 
lons boiled. Many kettles of syrup were burned and ruined by the fire getting 
too low towards the close of the process, and several by an ill-advised stirring. 
Our rule was to gradually augment the fire from the time the defecation is com- 
pleted, until the syrup is finished. The bulk should remain the same through- 
out, as the water evaporates ; let its place be supplied with foam, which should 
keep the kettle constantly full, and on no account stir it lest it become too cool 
and burn, — burn not under the bottom, but on top, where the only danger 

The reason of this is evident upon a Httle reflection. One who has witnessed 
the active boiling of a kettle of syrup, cannot fail to have noticed the con- 
stant active state of commotion which prevades the whole mass, effecting an 
object in the bringing continually fresh portions of the syrup in contact with 
the bottom and sides of the boiling vessel, and preventing a repose which would 
admit of overheating, a process of spontaneous stirring which cannot be suc- 
cessfully performed with a paddle. This state of commotion must necessarily 
• exist in the bulk of the syrup when heated above the point of boiling, but if it 
be interfered with by stirring or damping down the heat, the exposed sides 
of the pan, covered with a thin stratum of syrup, become overheated, caromel 
is formed and washed down by the foam, when it shall again rise and fall, 
darkening the color and communicating the bitter caromel flavor. 

Observation has shown, also, that long exposure to even moderate heat exerts 
a similar action upon saccharine solutions, effecting their gradual, slow decom- 
position, so there are two cogent reasons why the fire should be hot and the 
stirring omitted ; first, because the stirring is effected more perfectly, and the 
sides of the pan constantly kept covered ; and second, because the process of 
concentration is hastened and the period of exposure to the air greatly lessened. 

During the fall of 185 7, Mr. Joseph S. Lovei-ing, of Philadelphia, conducted 
a series of very satisfactory experiments in the production of sugar from the 
sorghum, and placed the whole subject in a much more favorable light before 
the country. On the 28th of September, but about one-fourth of the seed 
having reached the milk stage, he examined the two lower joints with the 



polariscope and found 5 per cent, of crystallizable sugar in the juice ; two joints 
next above these showed 5.57 per cent. The S. G. of the juice was 1.065- 
Two days subsequently an effort was made to produce sugar, which resulted 
in a very dark, thick, viscid mass, which after standing ten days afforded a 
"pretty good crop of soft crystals" of dark color. On the 13th of October, 
about one-half the seed being ripe, a second experiment was made upon juice 
of S. G. 1.074, which gave 4 per cent, actual yield of crystallized sugar, and 
9^ per cent, of molasses, or 1 S^ per cent, saccharine matter. The sugar was 
similar to the second quality Cuba sugar used by refiners. 

Oct. 23d, juice weighed full 10° Braume, polariscope indicated 7.29 of 
sugar in the juice. 

2d November, the upper portions of the stalks turning yellow, the leaves 
dead and dry, juice from lower joints 10° Braume, yielded sugar 5.58, mo- 
lasses 7.14, in all 12.72. Sugar perfectly dry and worked without the slightest 
difficulty at every stage. The molasses was re-boiled and crystallized under 
disadvantageous circumstances, and afforded an additional quantity, which, 
added to the first, gives sugar 7.35, molasses 5.37. The top joints of the stalks 
used in this experiment yielded a juice of 12° Braume from which was ob- 
tained 7.14 sugar, and 4.76 molasses, in all 11.90. 

Mr. Lovering estimates the probable yield of an acre of canes of ordinary 
growth, such as he experimented with, as follows: 

Actual yield as per experiment No. 4, 1221.85 lbs. sug. 84.39 gls. molasses. 
Add for inefficiency of mill, 10 per cent. 
Forheatingandre-heating, &c., 5 " " 
For footings, say but 5 " " 

20 percent. 244.37 

1466.22 lbs. sug. 74.39 gls. molasses. 

He further observes that his estimate is based upon a yield of only 1847 gal- 
lons of juice, while another party in his own county reports 6800 gallons, and 
Mr. Peters, of Georgia, the season previous, a yield of over 2000 gallons of juice 
of a much higher specific gravity, and probably greater percentage of sugar. 

Jkir Lovering, after detailing his experiments, draws the following conclu- 
sions : " 1st. That it is obvious that there is a culminating point in the devel- 
opment of the sugar in the cane, which is the best time for sugar-making. 
This point or season, I consider to be when most, if not all the seeds are ripe, 
and after several frosts; say when the temperature falls to 25° or 30° Fahr- 
enheit. 2d. That frost, or even hard freezing does not injure the juice nor 
the sugar, but warm Indian summer weather, after the frost and hard freezing, 
does injure them very materially, and reduces both quantity and cjuality. 3d' 
That if the cane is cut and housed, or shocked in the field when in its most 
favorable condition, it will probably keep unchanged for a long time. 4th. 


That when the juice is obtained, the process should proceed continuously 
and without delay. 5th. That the clarification should be as perfect as 
possible, by the time the density reaches 14° Braunie, the syrup having tlie 
appearance of good brandy. 6th. That although eggs were used in these 
small experiments, on account of their convenience, bullock's blood, if to be 
had, is equally good, and the milk of lime alone will answer the purpose; in 
the latter case, however, more constant and prolonged skimming will be re- 
quired to produce a perfect clarification, which is highly important. 7th. That 
the concentration, or boiling down, after clarification, should be as rapid as 
possible without scorching, shallow evaporators being the best. 8th. With 
these conditions secured, it is about as easy to make good sugar from the Chi- 
nese sugar cane as to make a pot of good mush, and much easier than to make 
a kettle of good apple butter." 

With reference to the economical production of sugar from this plant, no sat- 
isfactory conclusions can be drawn as yet ; much careful experiment and re- 
search will bo required to ensure the production of a juice which shall contain 
the maximum quantity of crystallizable sugar with the minimum of the objec- 
tionable vegetable principles. It is also probable that the discovery of some 
additional means of defecation may become necessary before the desired ob- 
ject can be realized. It would seem not unreasonable to believe that a plant 
so easily grown in all sections of our country, and containing, under favorable 
circumstances, so large a percentage of cane sugar, will eventually be made a 
valuable source of this important staple. 

For the production of syrup, if we could but succeed in defecating the juice 
upon a large scale and by simple means of easy attainment, so as to make it 
keep good for an indefinite period, Ave should accomplish very much for the 
benefit of the Southern planter and the negro. It is found by experience that 
however well the syrup may be boiled, and however palatable it may be for the 
first few months, as the season advances, if it be not so thin as to ferment and 
sour, it undergoes a quiet, viscous fermentation, which renders it slimy, in 
some instances gelatinous, and always ruins the flavor. Until this trouble is 
overcome, the syrup will be made only upon a small scale, and this for early 

In the production of alcohol from the sorghum upon a large scale, very little 
has been done in this country. 

In France, on the contrary, it is for this that the plant is (ihiefly valued, and 
the juice is said to yield 6^^ percent, of absolute alcohol, equal to 7.41 of the 
commercial rectified spirit, or say 12.60 of proof spirit. In the fall of 18.5 7, a 
barrel of juice was set aside, with a few pieces of the bagasse put in it, and 
alloAved to ferment spontaneously ; upon the fourth day, acetous fermentation 
having commenced, it was distilled without any careful notes being taken of 
the yield. A sample of the doublings of S. G. 915 is herewith submitted. 

ROBERT BATTEY, M. D., Rome, Georgia. 




Subject 17. — " The change which pills, containing oxide of silver, under- 
go, etc." 

I have made a number of experiments in investigating this subject, but do 
not think them of sufficient importance to occupy the time of the Association 
by relating them in detail. Oxide of silver, in contact with moist organic 
matter, especially saccharine, evidently undergoes decomposition, accompanied 
with more or less evidence of chemical reaction, and resulting in the revival 
of the metal. I found this oxide prepared, according to the officinal formula, 
to be readily and entirely soluble in dilute aqua ammonia; but after having 
been triturated with sugar and Avater, when treated with aqua ammonia, a 
black precipitate resulted, which proved to be metallic silver, in fine subdi- 

Pills containing oxide of silver, made up with gum arable and water, under- 
went no apparent physical change, neither did those made with gum and a 
small portion of syrup (just sufficient to form a pilular mass.) When made 
with a larger proportion of syrup or honey, so as to make a soft mass, there 
were more evidences of reaction, but the greatest change occurred in pills 
made up with confection of rose. Pills made from a mass made up with this 
excipient, I found in repeated experiments to soften, puff up, and become 
porous, remaining so for some time, then gradually drying into an amorphous, 
spongy mass. The time elapsing before this swelling, etc. commenced, varied 
from half to several hours. In one case, the pills made up with the confec- 
tion on a dry day, remained unchanged for several days, when the weather 
becoming damp, they softened and swelled up as before. 

Thinking the astrlngency of the confection might have something to do 
with this reaction, I made up pills of the oxide with tannin and syrup, and 
also with the addition of acetic acid, but these kept without change. 

I conclude that the cause of the greater change in the pills made with con- 
fection of rose, is the greater bulk of vegetable matter they contain, and that 
they continue moist longer than those made with mucilage or syrup. I 
found, however, that a portion of silver is revived, even in those made up 
with fTum and water; upon treating pills thus made, with aqua ammonia, 
metallic silver was left. There is no reason to suppose that this decom- 
iiosition of the oxide is of any importance in a medical point of view ; the 
metallic silver, being in very fine subdivision, is probably equally efficient with 
the oxide. 

In regard to the second point of the question, there is no difficulty in 
avoiding any visible change in pills containing oxide of silver, as none occurs 
when they are made up with gum and water, or even with gum and syrup, 
providtd. there is no more syrup used than is necessary to form the mass, so 
that the pills wUl dry rapidly. AMBROSE SMITH. 



In answer to the Query No. 40, submitted to me for examination at the 
last Annual Meeting, I am only able to make a partial report, with the ex- 
planation, that in addition to my usual business and pharmaceutical and other 
public engagements, I have during the last three months edited a second 
edition of my work on Pharmacy, to which I have added about one hundred 
pages of new matter, and re- written many chapters contained in the previous 
edition ; so that I cannot be charged with indifference to the cause of phar- 
maceutical progress. 

The question pertains chiefly to the deterioration of pharmaceutical prepa- 
rations, but I believe that cnide drugs, or drugs in powder, are quite as fre- 
quently liable to spoil on our hands, and equally rec^uire the adoption of 
precautions to prevent changes. The most common causes of injury to the 
different articles of the druggists' stock, are the following : 

1st. Fermentation, putrefaction, mould or must, changes all produced by 
similar influences, though under somewhat different circumstances, and upon 
different kinds of organic bodies. 

2d. The influence of worms or insects feeding upon drugs, of organic 

3d. Oxidation, " nitrification " of both inorganic and organic bodies by the 
influence of the atmosphere. 

4th. Deliquescence, efflorescence and the dissipation of volatile ingredients, 
and the absorption of carbonic acid. 

5th. The admixture of foreign bodies, dust, &c., with drugs. 

A few remarks under each of these heads may serve to explain more fully 
the nature of the changes to which these queries have reference. 

1st. Fermentation differs from putrefaction chiefly in the phenomena by 
which it is accompanied, and the constituents of the organic body subjected to 
its action ; both are occasioned by the action of a nitrogenized substance 
called a ferment, which has the property of disturbing complex organic 
substances, reducing them 1o simpler forms ; these simpler forms are carbonic 
acid, alcohol, or acetic acid and water in the case of starchy and saccharine 
bodies ; and in nitrogenized bodies, several gaseous proilucts containing 
sulphur and phosphorus, and causing the odor which we call putridity. 

In the production of mould a cryptogamic growth occurs on the surface, 
causing a change in the grouping of elements in the part immediately in 
contact, though without the production of alcohol or acetic acid. Must, seems 
to be occasioned by an analogous change though to a less extent. 

One peculiarity is observed in all these changes : they all require the 
presence of moisture, and may be entirely prevented by the artificial desi- 
cation of drugs and their complete exclusion from the air and moisture. 


Fermentation in syrups, fluid extracts, extracts, honeys, and confections, 
is usually caused by deficiency in the proportion of the saccharine ingredient, 
which must exist in the proportion of two parts of nearly dry sugar to one 
of water ; or by the incomplete separation of the nitrogenized ingredient, 
generally vegetable albumen, which, being coagulable by heat, should be re- 
moved in the process of preparation of most complex liquid saccharine 

Several syrups, such as compound syrup of squills, and syrup of seneka, 
are especially liable to fermentation, and many expedients have been 
adopted to diminish this tendency; they should always be carefully made 
with strict regard to the official directions, not only in the full weight of 
sugar directed, an accurate measurement of the quantity of liquid, the care- 
ful coagulation of vegetable albumen and its separation on a filter, but also 
in the final adjustment of the proportions, so that neither the sugar nor the 
liquid shall be in excess. The best way to keep these easily fermentable 
syrups is to fill bottles not exceeding a pint in capacity, completely full, seal 
them over and put them away in the cellar, or in a place where the tempera- 
ture is not variable ; the bottles should be thoroughly dried after being 
washed and before introducing the syrup. It is remarkable that acetic acid, 
one of the chief products of fermentation, is a most eflectual preventive of 
the process ; it is by its production in fermenting liquids that they are prevented 
from being completely resolved into the products of fermentation, and when 
introduced in advance, It prevents the process entirely. I am not aware of 
the smallest proportion that will be effectual, but believe that a single fluid 
drachm of acetic acid will generally preserve a pint of syrup. I have tried 
glycerin as a preventive in the case of Coxe's hive syrup, but with unsatisfac- 
tory results, the syrup after a time became sour. 

Where the use of alcohol Is resorted to for this purpose, I think the purest 
and strongest to be obtained is least objectionable — a small proportion will 
be found effectual. 

2d. The most difficult to avoid of all the causes of deterioration In drugs 
is the production of larvte from microscopic eggs deposited in the plant be- 
fore It leaves the ground; roots arc particularly liable to be infested with 
these, and even the most poisonous, bitter and odorous roots are often found 
to be completely riddled by Insects In the drawer or bottle In which they have 
been carefully laid. The only remedies that I know of for this evil are the 
heating of the root. If It contains no volatile principle to be preserved, to a 
temperature of 180° or perhaps to 212° before putting It away. This has been 
especially recommended in the case of taraxacum, and Is said to destroy the 
eggs or to prevent their producing the insects. It has been proposed in the 
case of ergot to place in the bottle a piece of camphor, or some cotton im- 
pregnated with oil of turpentine or ether, and It is stated that the vapor of 
these is fatal to these pests. Its efficacy should be further tried. An analogous 


fact, recently stated, is, that a few cardamom seeds thrown inio a drawer of 
coriander will completely prevent the depredations of the insects that devour 
that article. The exclusion of light, though perhaps not entirely effectual, 
is believed to be advantageous in many instances. In the case of sambul 
root it has been observed that a specimen kept in a tin can was much better 
preserved than one in a well-stoppered salt-mouth bottle. A complete trial 
of this remedy for the depredators upon medicinal roofs would, however, re- 
(juire experiments to be extended over a great length of time. 

3J. The oxidizing influence of the atmosphere is, of course, a prolific 
source of changes throughout the material world. Under the influence of the 
life force, plants draw from the atmosphere the chief elements of their growth, 
and as soon as this force is withdrawn they become a prey to its destructive 
influences. Fermentation and putrefaction occur only in complex organic 
bodies in the presence of moisture. They are in fact almost characteristic of 
liquids, or soft solids, and when once set on foot proceed independently of 
the atmospheric influence. Not so with the destructive process of oxidation, 
to which a great variety of substances, both of organic and inorganic origin, 
are subject. 

Inorganic substances are often oxidized by the air, producing sensible 
changes, which in the metals are called tarnish or rust, in mineral sub- 
stances oxidation, in pigments, bleaching, etc. ; that peculiar modification of 
atmospheric oxygen, called ozone, appears to be especially active in these 
changes. The kind of oxidation called eremacausis or decay is probably 
more injurious to the druggist's stock than has been suspected. This affects 
organic bodies so slowly as to be imperceptible except during considerable 
lapses of time, and may account for that species of deterioration universally 
acknowledged and appreciated, which prompts to the distrust of old drugs and 
the universal preference for a fresh article. 

The influence of this spontaneous change upon extracts is one of the most 
curious that falls under our observation. Extract of belladonna, when kept 
a long time, under ordinary circumstances, is found to be so full of crystals as 
to be unfit for its ordinary uses ; some old specimens, even have the ap- 
pearance of impure crystalline masses ; these crystals are found to consist 
mainly of alkaline nitrates. It has been observed in relation to old extract 
of hyoscyamus, that the interior of the mass contains carbonate of ammonia, 
while the surface is covered with needles of nitrate of ammonia. The 
presence of such large portions of ammonia under these circumstances can 
only be accounted for by the known fact that organic compounds have the 
property of absorbing nitrogen from the air during eremacausis, and of 
developing it into ammonia and nitrous acid. How far the characteristic 
alkaloids present in these extracts are affected by these changes, is worthy of 

It is to a similar though not identical class of phenomena that the 


changes observed in essential oils belong ; most of these, by long exposure 
to the air and light, change color, become less limpid, and lose their delicacy 
of fragrance ; so marked is this change, that it frequently renders these oils 
unsaleable and quite worthless. The remedy usually prescribed for this 
resinitication of essential oils is in re-distillation. They should be mixed 
with water, sometimes with portions of alkali, in a still, and re-distilled. 

Another process for the recovery of resinified essential oils, that of M. 
Curieux, published in the American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. XXX, page 
399, is less troublesome. It consists in submitting resinified essential oils to 
the action of a solution of borax with animal black ; the solution of borax is 
mixed with the animal charcoal to form a thin magma, the oil is then, added 
and agitated for fifteen minutes. This process has been found success ul with 
oil of lavender, peppermint, and neroli ; the acid resin seems to combine 
with the borax, and to form a mass which adheres to the sides of the bottle, 
while the oil floats above with its original limpidity and fragrance. 

My friend, Charles Bullock of Philadelphia, has found that permanganate 
of potassa, by its deoxidizing properties, is admirably adapted to the restora- 
tion of certain essential oils ; the particular one experimented with was oil of 
lemon, a large can of which was completely restored from having become 
quite unsaleable, by mixing with a solution of the proportion of one ounce of 
the salt to eight fluid ounces of water, and agitating for a length of time, then 
decanting, mixing with fresh water, and gently warming till the oil floated 
perfectly clear and limpid on the surface — the quantity named was sufficient 
lor four pounds of the oil — this was more remarkable from the fact that dis- 
tillation was quite unsuccessful in ridding this sample of its terebinthinate 

The organic coloring principle which pervades the leaves of plants, 
called chlorophyle, seems one of the most delicate of Nature's products ; by 
its shade of color we are enabled to judge of the perfect development of a 
leaf, or the herbaceous part of a plant, and to determine its freedom from 
decay. Arguing from the facility with which this principle is changed by the 
action of light, and from the known fact that many substances which are 
readily decomposable by the combined influence of air and light, are pre- 
served unchanged at the same temperature and degree of exposure to the 
air, in the dark, we are justified in setting a high value on those precau- 
tions adopted by careful pharmaceutists to preserve organic substances, pro- 
tected from light, as well as from moisture and other unfavorable influences. 

The remarks thus made upon leaves and their characteristic coloring 
principle are still more applicable to flowers, which quickly fade under cir- 
cumstances of exposure to light, and generally, though not in eveiy instance, 
lose their characteristic odor with their delicate color. The French or red 
rose is an instance of a flower that partially bleaches by light without lo>ing 
its odor. 


4th. The causes of deterioration next to be noted are exceedingly familiar 
to every practical pharmaceutist and druggist. Acetate of potassa may 
serve as the type of deliquescent salts ; these should always be carefully kept 
from access of air, taken out from the bottle with a dry spatula, and kept 
near the stove or in a dry part of the store — they are happily easily restored 
when damp, by careful drying in an oven or upon a sand bath. There is a 
difference of sentiment as to whether a salt-mouth or cork-stoppered bottle 
is to be preferred for deliquescent salts ; unless the salt-mouth is very well 
ground, the cork is to be preferred. Perfect dryness should always be 
insisted on in preparing a bottle for receiving a deliquescent salt. 

Efflorescent salts are less troublesome ; they only give us the inconvenience 
of adjusting the weight in dispensing, so as to allow for the loss of water of 
crystallization. As a general rule, they should be kept on hand and prescribed 
in the form of dry powders, such as the sodse carbonas exsiccatus of the 

Carbonate of ammonia is one of the most unprofitable articles in the 
shop, on account of its constant loss of weight by evaporation and its change 
into bicarbonate. I have found great economy in keeping this in a bottle 
constructed specially to exclude the air. There is a kind sold by grocers, 
imported full of prunes ; a metallic screw is fitted on to the outside of the 
neck of the bottle, to which a cap of the same material is fitted ; this cap is 
fitted with cork in the inside of its top, and this presses, when the cap is ad- 
justed in its place, directly on to the bottle. 

I have brought with me a sample of a bottle made in Philadelphia for pre- 
serving fruits out of contact of air, which possesses gi-eat advantages for the 
preservation of carbonate of ammonia and similar articles. 

Tin cans are increasingly in use, of late, for preserving vegetable substances 
from light and air. I also show one of these. 

This interesting subject is but touched in this essay, and I shall take 
pleasure in pursuing it further at a future time, if desired by the Association. 


At our last meeting I was called upon to furnish an " Essay upon the fitting 
up of Drug Stores," with regard to the combination of convenience and dis- 
play. And in undertaking this task, I do so, not under the impression that my 
individual ideas are superior to those of my brethren in the profession, but, 
having been honored by the acquaintance of some of the most eminent drug- 
gists in the United States and Great Britain, I am indebted to them for the 
advantage of their combined opinion, as much as to any practical knowledge 
I may have acquired by the many stores I have been wholly or partially 
engaged in fitting. That a systematic arrangement of the appliances and 
appointments of the business of men is essential in a great degree to success, 


will be disputed by none but the careless and indifferent ; and if there is one 
branch of science more than another in which methodical arrangement is 
imperative, it is that of Pharmacy. 

Very many of the fatal accidents arising from the erroneous dispensing ot 
drugs, may be attributed, in the first place, to a non-s}stematic arrangement 
of the principal ingredients composing prescriptions ; and secondly, to that 
want of privacy so essential to the dispenser whilst in the performance of his 
most important duty. 

In fitting a store I should most strenuously advise the " Retail " and " Dis- 
pensing Departments" to be kept separate. This may be effected, even where 
room is an object, by having the dispensing counter with upright glass-case 
in front; or, if the counter will admit, two cases with mirror in centre, which 
not only forms an ornament to the store, but advantageously displays per- 
fumery, pomades, etc. The back of the case or cases should be fitted with 
shelving for conveniently sized bottles to contain those tinctures, powders, etc., 
most generally employed in dispensing, as well as drawers for pill and powder 
boxes, corks, etc., not forgetting a well-assorted label-drawer; in short, the 
dispensing counter should be a dispensary on a minute scale, as I hold it im- 
portant that from the time the dispenser receives his prescription he should 
not have occasion (under ordinary circumstances) to leave his dispensing 
counter until the medicine is ready for delivery. I may here remark the 
necessity of good and well-stoppered bottles, to prevent loss and consequent 
deterioration ; in fact, it would be well could we introduce the glass cap, as in 
England, and the deep, blue bottle, for certain tinctures, acids, powders, etc., 
whose medicinal effects are impaired by the action of the light. I need 
scarcely mention the necessity of a correctly labelled store, still I would im- 
press upon the minds of the profession the danger of using bottles containing 
a druo- other than that which its regular label designates. I have seen in some 
stores a pen and ink label attached to a bottle. How likely is this to become 
detached by washing the bottle or otherwise ? And in the event of the ab- 
sence of the regular dispenser, how fatal may be the result? Besides, it 
shows a want of due care, and is frequently the cause of much hesitation and 
confusion in serving an article, as well as detention of the person requiring 
medicine. The scrutiny of the non-professional observer is not unfrequently 
drawn to this state of things ; he may imagine his wants doubtfully responded 
to, or, losing confidence, may seek elsewhere for what he considers skill and 
safety. But apart from these considerations, a neat gilt label adds greatly to 
the beauty of the store, and customers think where care is shown to the label- 
lin"' of the article, there will be a corresponding attention paid to every 

A room, where convenient, at the back of the store should be used for 
rouofh work, such as preparing ointments, syrups, etc. ; and should contain a 
lartre wooden case, with cupboards and shelving for macerating tinctures, etc., 


as -well as a shelf perforated for funnels and percolators, that an uninterrupted 
course of filtration may be carried on. Here, also, should be found a sink, 
etc., for the immediate cleansing of bottles, mortars, etc. 

In the retail department, the counter being supplied with slides, cupboards, 
etc., the space usually employed for serving may be used for the display of 
goods in glass-cases ; and the most convenient kind I have yet met with is a flat 
case, similar to what are generally used, but not so wide, the back part raised 
some eight or nine inches high, and as many wide, forming at the same time 
a separate case opening at the back, leaving a space underneath for the use 
of cut paper, twine, gum-pot, etc. ; thus preventing the necessity of applying 
to the resources of the dispensing counter for the means of putting up parcela, 
etc. It should be our care to have all our preparations, perfumery, etc., so 
displayed that both ourselves and the buyer may be reminded what is be- 
fore us. 

With regard to the general fitting and decorating of a well appointed drug 
store, I should advise the painting of the inside to be always of a light color; 
and at the back of the bottles a rich salmon or peach-blossom, but never 
green, on account of its absorption of the light. 

• The drawers should be of mahogany or other dark wood, their height from 
the floor to the top not to exceed three feet six inches. By this arrangement 
convenient cupboards may be formed at the end of the store and behind pre- 
scription departments, to (,'ontain vials, herbs, etc. 

The shelves to be painted white, tipped with mahogany, and the cornice 
not too heavy. 

I might say much with regard to the ornamenting of the windows ; but, 
fearing I might be likened to the citizen who thought there was nothing like 
leather to fortify the city, I shall leave that subject to your own consideration, 
knowing the spirit of the age is evincing itself in drug stores ecjually with 
other business establishments; and, instead of the dismal shops of old, re- 
minding one of death at their very doors, we now find them beautiful speci- 
mens of artistic device, embellishing the locality in which they may be 

In conclusion, should the suggestions offered in this short sketch prove of 
practical value to one member of the profession, I shall be amply satisfied. 

F. HALE, kew York. 



No complete analysis has as yet been made of the barks of the various 
species of Cornus. In volume VII. page 109, of the American Journal of 
Pharmacy, Mr. James Cockburn details the results of a number of experi- 
ments made with the bark of cornus florida, which are not without interest, 


but leave us in the dark about the nature of the true active principle of this 
indigenous tree. This is ascribed by him and by other investigators to " bitter 
extractive," a name which has to cover a multitude of compounds, difficult to 

In compliance with the subject accepted by me for investigation for the 
American Pharmaceutical Association, I have directed my efforts principally 
to the isolation of the active part of this bark, without taking much notice of 
the other principles it contains ; but it was necessary to first obtain some infor- 
mation about these other constituents. 

I have therefore repeated and variously modified some of the experiments 
made by Mr. Cockburn, and find them mainly correct; I was unable, how- 
ever, to obtain the crystalline substance of which he speaks, and for which I 
did not search any farther, as these crystals are stated to be entirely taste- 
less, and my main object lay in a wholly different direction. 

Alcohol and water, both extract completely the bitter taste of the bark of 
cornus florida, leaving a tasteless residue which imparts no taste to a diluted 
acid. It is therefore unnecessarj^, for the extraction of the bitter principle, 
to contaminate the exhausting liquid with a foreign acid, which would serve 
no other purpose except to require to be removed again. By extracting, 
the bark with alcohol, the tannin, resin, some waxy matter, free acid, etc., are 
taken up and interfere with the purification of the extract. Water dissolves 
no resin, wax, or fatty matter, but on the other hand takes up some gum 
which may be easily got rid of. Alcohol and water dissolve the whole of the 
coloring matter. 

The neutralization of the free acid, contained in the infusion and tincture, 
does not visibly affect the appearance .of the liquid ; an excess of alkali deep- 
ens the color somewhat, without otherwise disturbing it ; alkalies cause no 
precipitate of the bitter principle. It was to be inferred, inasmuch as most 
alkalies are but sparingly soluble in water, that the bitter principle was not 
of an alkaline nature. If it is of neutral behavior, the aim, it appeared, must 
be to. remove the other substances so as to retain the bitter active body in 
solution ; or else, take it up by a solvent, which leaves the other bodies 

Without attempting to enter into detail on the various experiments made 
for this purpose, I may as well state the result of my investigations, giving 
some explanations afterwards. 

I have succeeded in obtaining the bitter principle of the bark of cornus 
florida in a perfectly colorless and neutral solution ; but all attempts to evap- 
orate the liquid without decomposition have signally failed. No matter wheth- 
er the alcoholic or the aqueous colorless solution is evaporated by rapid boil- 
ing, at a moderate heat, at ordinary temperature, in a current of dry air or 
over sulphuric acid under a bell glass, in all cases a brownish color is pro- 
duced, which is deepened as the liquor is concentrated, and a dark brown 
extract is left behind without the least sign of crystallization. 


This colorless solution of the active principle may be obtained in various 
ways ; I have found the following to be the least troublesome : 

Coarsely powdered dogwood bark is twice boiled with water, and the ex- 
pressed clear liquid is precipitated by solution of subacetate of lead; a flesh- 
colored curdy precipitate takes place, which, on stirring, becomes very volu- 
minous, and now contains the tannic and gallic acids, gum, coloring matter, 
etc. The liquid, which is filtered off from the precipitate, is destitute of color, 
and contains the bitter principle, together with free acetic acid and an excess 
of the precipitant. The excess of lead may be removed in various ways, 
either by a little sulphuric acid, or by sulphuretted hydrogen ; if sulphuret 
of ammonia, or an alkaline carbonate is used, the alkali serves to neutralize 
the free acid ; the former precipltants require the subsequent use of an alkali 
to saturate the acid. 

Kow, in whichever way the lead has been removed and the acid neutral- 
ized, the solution remains colorless and neutral for some time at ordinary tem- 
perature ; but if it continues in contact with the air, and is allowed to evaporate, 
a decomposition takes place and an extract remains behind, which is still of a 
neutral reaction, if for the neutralization of the free acetic acid a fixed alkali 
has been employed ; if, however, ammonia has been used, the extract will 
have a slight acid reaction from the formation of the acid acetate of ammonia 
and the expulsion of some of this volatile base. When evaporated to a syrupv 
consistence, and now mixed with strong alcohol, the whole liquid is redissolved 
with the exception of a white crystalline precipitate of alkaline acetates, and 
sulphates. All the coloring matter goes into solution, and on evaporation a 
bitter extractive mass remains, which is wholly soluble in water and alcohol. 
Its solution is again precipitated and decolorized by subacetate of lead, and 
the filtrate has now the same behavior as in the first instance. 

By digesting the decoction with carbonate of lead, litharge or hvdrated 
oxide of lead, the tannic acid of the dogwood bark is precipitated, but at the 
same time the liquid is rendered turbid by keeping some lead in suspension, 
which is not removed by filtration; as it passes the filter the liquid is still 
turbid, and to render it clear, requires to be treated with sulphuric acid or 
sulphuretted hydrogen, in order to precipitate the lead, which at the same 
time throws down a considerable amount of coloring matter, but leaves the 
filtrate still with a decidedly brown color, which cannot be removed in this 

A similar result is obtained if the removal of the tannin is attempted by 
precipitating it with gelatine ; the whole amount is not very readily thrown 
down, and the filtrate has retained a good part of its coloring matter. 

More completely than by the latter two ways will the decoction be decolor- 
ized by first dissolving in it some alum, and precipitating it again by one of 
the alkalies, or their carbonates. The alumina which precipitates, will also 
carry down all coloring matter and tannin, so as to yield a clear colorless 


filtrate, which, besides the excess of the saline additions, contains the whole 
of the bitter principle. Tf this solution is now evaporated, the same change 
takes place with the organic matter ; it turns dark ; from the syrupy residue, 
the saline admixtures are thrown down by strong alcohol, but the coloring 
matter is dissolved, and, on evaporation, a bitter extract is left behind, with- 
out any traces of crystals. The extract, dissolved in water, and treated with 
alum and an alkali as before mentioned, again yields an almost colorless 
solution, which shows the same behavior as before. 

In the above experiments, after the bitter principle had been repeatedly 
deodorized and evaporated, the precipitates of lead or alumina would not carry 
down the whole of the coloring matter, but leave the filtrate of a yellowish 
color, which grew deeper with a repetition of the experiment; the bitter taste 
of the resulting tincture and extract was now perceptibly less marked, and 
had nearly entirely disappeared in two specimens of extract, which had been 
thus treated, and afterwards kept for six months exposed to the air. 

I have mentioned above in which various ways I attempted to evaporate 
the clear solution so as to prevent change, and it is unnecessary to dwell more 
upon this matter, as the result has been nearly the same, the chief difference 
being a somewhat higher or less degree of color. 

A number of experiments were undertaken with the view of obtaining a 
precipitate from the colorless solution, which should contain the bitter princi- 
ple ; but all attempts have so far been fruitless. It was thought that an 
ethereal solution might be less likely to become colored, as its evaporation 
mio'ht be carried on at a very low temperature, and the ether itself would act 
as a deoxidizer. But no such solution could be effected ; ether would not 
take up the bitter principle from water or alcohol, nor would it cause its pre- 
cipitation from the spirituous solution. 

The presence of free alkalies or acids, during evaporation, appears to hasten 
the change of the bitter principle ; the solution resumes a color of a marked 
deeper tint, and the peculiar odor exhaled from a decoction of dogwood bark, 
seems to be stronger. 

If I may be justified to deduce any inferences from the results of the ex- 
periments as stated above, they would be as follows : 

The hitter principle of the hark of corn us florida is a colorless, neuter, persist- 
ently hitter suhstance, ivJiicJi is very soluble in water and alcohol, insoluhle in 
ether, not precipitated hy chemical re-agents, hut very easily affected and destroyed 
by exposure to the air. 

This at the same time furnishes an answer to the other questions pro- 
pounded to me ; my inability to obtain the active principle in a pure state 
rendered a comparison with (piinia impossible. 

My experiments imply some useful hints regarding the mode of making 
pharmaceutical preparations of dogwood bark. Contact with the air and ex- 
posure to heat, it would appear, must be avoided ; a solid extract is best evap- 


orated in vacuo ; in preparing a fluid extract, the liquid ought to be brought 
under the protective influence of sugar as soon as possible. For such prepa- 
rations, water is a better exhausting menstruum than alcohol, which would 
take up inert resinous matter; this, in its pure state, is almost white, crum- 
my, soluble in alcohol and ether, also, in alkalies; destroyed upon platina foil 
without fusion, leaving much charcoal ; it is tasteless, and apparently without 
influence on the human body. 

Although having failed so far in my attempts to isolate the bitter principle 
of cornus florida in a crystalline state, I intend to institute further researches 
upon this subject, the results of which I may probably lay before the Associa- 
tion, if they should prove to be new and more satisfactory. The isolated 
principle will, no doubt, be interesting, but, I suppose, of little practical value, 
if we are to judge by the above properties. 

I may remark yet, that I have also somewhat experimented with the bark 
of cornus sericea, but with no better result. 

ON PEPSIN. — (CA;/;«osin Gasterase.) 


The gastric juice has long been recognized by physiologists as the active 
agent of digestion, but the real extent of its powers, or the conditions necessary 
for their exercise, have not been positively settled until within a few years. 
The German chemists, about the year 1834, commencinsr with Eberle Was- 
mann and Schwann, were the first to start the line of investigation which 
finally led to our present very accurate degree of knowledge ; and the care- 
ful experiments of many observers since that time have left us, in fact, little 
to discuss in relation to this very interesting subject. While, therefore, I can- 
not promise much that may be really novel in this connection, I propose to 
lay before the Association, in as condensed a form as possible, the history, 
chemical and physiological, and the mode of preparation of Pepsin, the 
active principle, so to speak, of the gastric juice. In doing this I will en- 
deavor to confine myself solely to well-authenticated facts, without noticing 
the many ingenious and often conflicting theories which have from time to 
time been advanced by various writers, and which would tend rather to em- 
barrass than assist us in forming correct conclusions. 

The solid constituents of pure gastric juice are in very minute proportion to 
its weight. In a specimen of human gastric juice collected by Beaumont, 
Berzelius found 1.27 only of solid matter ; in that of a dog, Blondlot found but 
1.00; others have met with different proportions, but in no case does it ever 
appear to reach 2.00. Of this solid matter about two-thirds is found to consist 
of pepsin, and the remainder of earthy, metallic, and alkaline chlorides and 


phosphates. Pepsin was first isolated in a tolerably pure state by Wasmann. 
His method consisted in digesting strips of the glandular lining of the stomach 
of the pig for several hours in water, at a temperature between 80° and 
100° F. The first liquid was rejected as consisting principally of mucus 
and other inert matters. The membrane, well washed, was again digested in 
water at the ordinary temperature, until a putrid odor began to be developed. 
This liquor, Avhen filtered, was transparent, viscid, and without any re-action. 
It was then precipitated by subacetate of lead, or corrosive sublimate, the 
precipitate carefully' washed was decomposed by sulphuretted hydrogen, 
and from the filtered liquid, pepsin, in white flocks, was precipitated by 
alcohol. The pepsin thus obtained forms, when dry, a yellow, gummy, 
slio-htly hygroscopic mass ; in its moist state it is white and bulky ; it dis- 
solves readily in water, and always retains a little free acid, so as to redden 
litmus. It is precipitated by alcohol from its watery solution ; mineral acids 
induce a turbidity in a solution of neutralized pepsin, which disappears on 
the addition of a small excess of the acid ; but if there be a considerable 
excess of acid thei-e is a flocculent deposit ; it is only imperfectly precipitated 
by metallic salts, and not at all by ferro-cyanide of potassium ; it has been 
asserted that pepsin is coagulated by boiling, but Frerichs has shown that 
the coaofulation is merely dependent on its admixture with albumen.* This 
admixture it is almost impossible to avoid, as the albumen is so intimately 
associated with the other soluble portions of the stomach, and is precipitated 
by the same re-agents which throw down the pepsin. In the extraction of 
pepsin by this method it is associated also more or less with peptones, or 
substances which have entered into a soluble modification with pepsin. Even 
when pepsin has been separated with the utmost care by precipitating 
fresh, filtered, and concentrated gastric juice with alcohol, it has been found 
impossible, up to the present time, to obtain it sufficiently pure for exact ulti- 
mate analysis. No two products ever afford the same precise results, though 
the following, by Schmidt and Vogel, give an approximate idea of its com- 

Hydrogen, . 
Oxygen, . 

100.000 100.000 

The contaminations above-mentioned are too unimportant, however, to affect 
the therapeutical action of pepsin, and for all practical purposes it is easily 
obtained of requisite purity. It has been a question Avhether the properties 
of pepsin do not vary with the different species of animals from which it is 

* Lehman, I'hys. Chem., Vol. II. page 47. 

Vogel. . 











derived. Upon theoretical grounds the stomach of tlie pig would seem 
likely to furnish a product most analogous to that from the human stomach; 
but it is certain that the same substances are dissolved with ecjual facility 
by pepsin obtained from the stomach of calves, sheep, dogs, etc. ; chemical 
analysis throws no light upon this point, nor have there been made any com- 
parative experiments of sufficient authority to decide it. We may therefore 
conclude that for medical purposes it matters little which of these sources 
we select. In my own experiments I have been best satisfied with the 
stomach of the pi<; for ease of manipulation, and abundance of product, and 
until some decided advantage can be proved for the others I would give this 
the preference. Herein I confirm the views of the German experimenters, 
but I observe that the English generally employ the stomachs of sheep and 
calves, and the French those of sheep. On this and some other practical 
points I had hoped to lay before the Association some facts from the expe- 
rience of others who have long made pepsin a special study. "With this 
view, in February last, I addressed M. Boudault of Paris, who was one of 
the first to prepare pepsin in a suitable form for administration, and whose 
article has lately been somewhat advertised in this country. Accompanying 
my note with a copy of the "Proceedings" of the last meeting of the Asso- 
ciation, I requested him to favor the Association, through me, with some of the 
results of his undoubtedly extensive observations. Mr. B. havin<T seen fit 
to take no notice of this request, I am unable to complete this part of my 

Of the actual converting power of pepsin we have no positive knowledofe. 
According to Wasmann, a liquid which contains only YoVg-Q of acetate of 
pepsin, and six drops per ounce of hydrochloric acid, will dissolve a thin 
slice of coagulated albumen in six or eight hours ; with ten or twelve drops 
of acid per ounce, it will dissolve the same in two hours. A liquid which 
contains half a grain of acetate of pepsin, and to which hydrochloric acid and 
white of egg are alternately added, so long as the latter dissolves, is capable 
of taking up 210 grains of coagulated albumen, at a temperature between 
95° and 104° F. It would appear from this experiment that hydrochloric 
acid is the true solvent, and that the action of pepsin is limited to disposing 
the albumen to dissolve. Diluted hydrochloric acid alone will dissolve coagu- 
lated albumen at a boiling temperature, but the presence of pepsin de- 
termines the same result at about the ordinary temperature of the livin» 
body ; and upon this rests its pecuUar physiological value. Liebig contends that 
pepsin does not exist as a distinct comjjound, but that gastric juice owes its 
solvent power to the gradual decomposition of a matter dissolved from the 
membrane of the stomach, which, aided by the oxygen introduced with the 
saliva, acts in its turn as a species of ferment upon the food, producing 
changes in it» atomic condition which fit it for assimilation. But subsequent 
investigations have placed it beyond a doubt, that gastric juice, so far from 



behaving like a ferment, is directly antagonistic to all known kinds of fer- 
mentation, and has definite limits itself, a property distinguishing it from 
fermentation, which is continuous per se to an indefinite extent. 

The gastric juice used in chemical investigations is usually obtained directly 
from the stomachs of living animals by the establishment of artificial fistulas, 
through which it is conducted by a silver tube properly secured. The ani- 
mal is fed with bits of bone or other indigestible substances which stimulate 
the discharge of the gastric fluid without much aflfecting its purity. The 
fluid is thus drawn off as required, and the tube is so arranged as to be closed 
and opened at pleasure, the animal apparently not suffering in its health 
from the operation. Blondlot was the first to establish these artificial fistulas 
as a source of pure gastric juice ; he mentions that a small dog on which he 
operated furnished easily 100 grammes, or about three fluid ounces of gastric 
juice at a time, and had continued to do so for two years, and enjoyed his 
usual health. After Blondlot, we are indebted to Bardeleben* for great 
improvements in the method of operating these fistulas. For the purposes of 
the pharmaceutist, however, this plan would not of course be available, and 
we have to content ourselves with what is termed the artificial digestive fluid 
for the production of the pepsin used in medicine. That this fulfils every 
purpose, is abundantly proved ; the glandular membrane of the stomach 
yields its pepsin readily to water; and with the precautions mentioned above 
it may be obtained tolerably free from mucus and other admixtures. The 
precipitate with subacetate of lead is a white, curly, rather tenacious sub- 
stance which in that state is rather difficult to operate upon with sulphuretted 
hydrogen. I have obviated this by drying the precipitate upon paper, rub- 
bin'^ it to powder with an equal quantity of sand, and then mixing it again 
with distilled water, which mixture the gas will permeate freely. The best 
method of obtaining the pepsin after its liberation from lead by the gas is to 
evaporate the filtered solution in vacuo at a temperature not exceeding 104°. 
When precipitated from its solution by alcohol it is thought by some to act with 
less power on fibrine, though otherwise its properties are not sensibly afiected, 
and its solution in water, slightly acidulated, will effect the usual phenomena of 
dio-estion. Pepsin is not injured by a low temperature; its solution may 
even be frozen without deterioration ; but heat, a very little above 100° F. 
destroys its digestive power beyond remedy. It will not exert its action 
except in the presence of an acid, and of none effectually, except lactic and 
hydrochloric acids. The latter has been decided to be the one present at 
the beginning of the digestive process In the living stomach, while the former, 
becoming developed during its course, exerts in its turn certain peculiar 
functions. Besides these two, there are also generally found other acids, as 
phosphoric, acetic, and butyric, in varying, though small proportions. Alka- 
lies and the alkaline salts exert a destructive influence on the solvent power 

* For a full description of his process, see Lebman's Phys. Chem., Vol. 11. p. 12. 


of pepsin. The presence of oil facilitates digestion by pepsin, although the 
oil itself is not acted upon by it. 

In considering the physiological relations of pepsin, the important fact must 
be remembered, that its action is limited entirely to nitrogenous substances. 
It has no solvent power on fat, starch, sugar, gum, pectine, gelatine, etc. 
If therefore we arc to look for its favoral)le action in cases of dyspepsia, it 
should be -where the diet is mostly albuminous and fibrinous, not certainly 
undey the farinaceous diet usually found to agree best with the dyspeptic. 
If the stomach will not digest meat, and the presumption consequently is a 
deficiency of pepsin, it is for the practitioner to consider whether the stomach 
will be more likely to regain its normal state by being supplied with arti- 
ficial pepsin, and food otherwise indigestible to it, or by restricting the diet 
to such food as can be assimilated, and pursuing the usual course of treat- 
ment to restore its functions. The cases, however, are very rare where the 
gastric juice, when secreted, is deficient in the amount of pepsin necessary to 
give it virtue. Either the gastric glands, from disease or debility, fail to act 
at all, or act but feebly, or there Is a want of balance in some of the other 
conditions on which digestion depends, so that perhaps excessive acidity puts a 
stop to the process. In either case, artificial pepsin would probably be of less 
benefit than attention to diet and hygiene. So far as the actual process of diges- 
tion is concerned, as it is carried on normally in the living system, pepsin Is but 
one of a series of substances of which each conti-ibutes its share, and each 
is essential to a perfect result. Thus the saliva, the lactic acid, the pancreatic 
juice, the intestinal juice, and the bile, all exercise their special functions, 
and it is by their combined Influence only that all the elements of mixed 
food can be reduced to the proper state for assimilation. " Hence we see," 
says Dr. Carpenter, in his Human Physiology, in summing up the article on 
the functions of gastric juice, "the process of digestion, so far from beinw 
completed In the stomach, has only been carried one stage further." 

Some notices have lately appeared of pancreatin, an active principle, 
bearing the same relation to the pancreatic juice, as pepsin does to ^astric 
juice. It is stated, on the authority of an English physician, that it is far 
superior to pepsin as a remedy for Indigestion. It Is true, it will act on some 
substances not capable of solution by pepsin, but otherwise it is liable to the 
same class of objections, and will not probablv be found of sufficient value 
to reward the extreme difficulty of obtaining it. The pancreatic juice Is 
found to have a special effect upon fats and oils which pass from the 
stomach undisturbed by gastric juice. 

The administration of pepsin has been mostly confined to the forms of 
solution in Avater or wine, powder, and pills. Strong spirit precipitates it, 
and syrup is partially changed by It. As it attracts moisture from the air, 
Bondanet adopts the plan of mixing it with powdered starch, in the propor- 
tion, I believe, of one grain pepsin to fifteen starch. This powder he claims 


will keep in a dry place any length of time, the starch serving also to con- 
ceal in some degree the peculiar taste of the pepsin. Under the name of 
" Liquor Pepticus Preparatus," the English have made use of a solution of 
pepsin in water, with a small percentage of alcohol, added to preserve it. 
A sample of this, for which I am indebted to the kindness of Prof. Sheridan 
Mushpratt of Liverpool, is presented. To this solution the taste and odor 
form an objection, though these might, of course, be disguised. The pills, 
as prepared by Hogg, of Paris, are covered with a suitable coaling to»pre- 
vent the access of air, and are, of all the forms I have seen, the most con- 
venient and elegant. A sample is presented, but I have not had time as 
yet to examine them fully as to composition. From the appearance of their 
solution in water, I should judge the pepsin used was prepared by precipi- 
tation. I have myself prepared a glycerole of pepsin or concentrated solu- 
tion in glycerine, but have not yet tried it sufficiently to speak positively of 
its merits. 

I in fact deferred commencing my own experiments for a long time, 
awaiting a reply from M. Boudault, which I hoped would enable me to avoid 
some trouble in the matter of practical details, on which, doubtless, he could, 
if willing, have communicated facts of value. I shall, however, continue the 
subject, and note my observations during the year, and if worthy, report 
them at our next meeting. Meanwhile I will conclude by quoting the con- 
venient method adopted by Lehman, for procuring a digestive fluid for the 
purpose of exhibiting the action of gastric juice, and as a source of pepsin 
for those wishing to experiment. 

The stomach of a recently killed pig having been properly cleaned, I 
detached from it the portion of mucous membrane in which the gastric glands 
chiefly lie. As this piece of mucous membrane still contains a tolerably 
thick layer of sub-mucous areolar tissue, or of the so called vascular coat in 
which the gastric glands are in a manner imbedded, this cannot be at 
once employed in the preparation of the digestive fluid, since then a quantity 
of digested gelatinous substances would be mixed with it. This source of 
error cannot be entirely avoided, since in every mode of treatment, hetero- 
geneous elements of tissue will be mixed with the glandular contents. In 
order, however, to obtain the latter in as pure a state as possible, the piece 
of mucous membrane, after lying for an hour or so in distilled water at the 
ordinary temperature, must be gently scraped with a blunt knife, or spatula. 
The pale grayish red, tenacious mucous, which adheres to the blade, must 
be placed in distilled water, and the mixture must be kept at the ordinary 
temperature for two or three hours, being fre(juently shaken in the interval. • 
A little free acid must then be added, (hydrochloric, 1 p. ct., A. C,)and 
the mixture placed, for half an hour or an hour, in a hatching oven, at a 
temperature of 35° to 38° (R.) By this time the fluid will be found to. 
have lost much of its viscidity, and it is now only slightly turbid ; it will 


pass readily through the filter in the form of a perfectly limpid fluid, -with 
a scarcely perceptible yellow tint. A specimen of this fluid is presented, as 
also another portion of two ounces in which the entire white of an egg, 
coagulated, has been dissolved at a temperature of 100° F. in about six 
hours. A specimen is also presented of Boudault's starchy pepsin, and a 
nostrum called '■'Houghton's pepsin" in powder and syrup, which proves on 
examination to contain no true pepsin whatever. 



The question relating to the comparative therapeutic value of foreign and 
indigenous or cultivated plants, assigned to me at the last meeting of your 
Association, I shall be able to report upon but partially this year. 

To determine this question satisfactorily or conclusively, involves experi- 
ments and observations of two or more seasons ; and, inasmuch as the ses- 
sions of the Association occur in advance of the season for the maturity of 
most medicinal plants, I am limited to such as have arrived at maturity, and 
can, from the limited time allowed, give only such portions of the several ex- 
periments concerning each as have been concluded. 

No way presented itself of determining all the points involved in the 
question, inasmuch as the narcotic plants are perhaps the most important, or 
more particularly referred to in the question, but to make them, as a class, 
the subject of particular experiment and examination somewhat after the fol- 
lowing plan : — 

1st. An analysis of five specimens of Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Aconite, 
Conium, and Digitalis ; each specimen of the several different plants of differ- 
ent importation. 

2d. The preparation of an extract of each specimen. The examination 
of each extract to determine the quantity of alkaloids, resins, etc., in each. 
Analysis of the ashes of the extracts of each plant, to determine the inorganic 
constituents of each ; and comparison with the analysis of the plant, that we 
may infer the nature of the soil upon which they grew. 

3d. An examination of extracts of the same plants of foreign manufacture, 
and comparison with those made here from the foreign plants. 

4th. The analysis of the soil upon which those plants are grown here in 
general culture, before sowing, and also after the maturity of the plant. 

5 th. An analysis of the plants, at various periods of growth, to maturity. 

6th. Treatment of each plant upon the same soil, with specific manures, 
as guano, nitrate of potassa, nitrate of soda, and also with a compound of the 


7tb. Analysis of the soil specifically manured, after the maturity of the 

The preparation of extracts of each plant, specifically treated, as well as 
of general culture. Analysis of each. 

The organic analysis of very many of our indigenous medicinal plants, 
which are extensively cultivated, causing the plant, both cultivated and wild, 
to be collected once a month. Analysis of both, that we may determine at 
what period of growth the largest amount of medicinal principles are 

Pursuant to the general plan, I caused different sections of a large field of 
Hyoscyamus, of the second year's growth, to be watered, one with a solution 
of nitrate of potassa; another with a solution of nitrate of soda; another 
with a solution of guano, until the plants had reached maturity, or the period 
of full bloom. 

The plants watered exhibited marked difference in vigor or growth over 
other portions of the field ; that portion upon which nitrate of potash was 
applied being o(" a much darker green color than that watered with nitrate of 
soda, and both much greener than that portion watered with solution of 
guano. The same difference in appearance is observable in a field of the 
same plant of the first year's growth. 

At maturity the plants were collected, and submitted to a uniform pro- 
cess of crushing, expression, and subsequent maceration of the pulp in alco- 
hol. The expressed juice and alcoholic solution were evaporated to the 
pilular consistence. A portion of each extract was dried, and treated by 
strong alcohol to dissolve the chlorophyle, alkaloid, and resinous principles ; 
evaporated and treated with hot water to separate the resin and chlorophyle ; 
the solution in hot water was boiled with oxide of lead to separate the color- 
ing matter ; filtered, and the filtrate evaporated to dryness, giving a nearly 
white substance, having marked alkaline reactions as follows, per centage in 
the extracts. 

Ordinary r„ov.rv Nitrate Nitrate 

Cultivation. «juano. potassa. Soda. 

Impure alkaline substance, 20.800 23.316 24.31G 25.850 

Coloring matter, - - 14.855 12.833 12.795 13.445 

The alkaline principle, heated in a tube with potassa, disengaged ammonia 
largely, showing the presence of a large amount of nitrogen, indicating the 
presence of a vegetable alkaloid. 

The precise character of this impure alkaloid, to which the plant undoubt- 
edly, to a great extent, owes its activity as a medicinal agent, we are now 
unable to state, reserving this for further examination. 

The disengagement of strong ammonia indicates the presence of an alkaloid, 
probably Hyoscyamia, as found by Brande. 

The variation of this principle in the different extracts, as shown by the 


table above, enables us to draw the inference fairly, that the different methods 
of treatment of the plant in cultivation produce a marked difference in its 
development in the plant ; and we have no doubt, from the difference in the 
ammoniacal odor perceptible when each are tried with potash, that the pure 
Hyoscyamia will be found to vary in similar proportion. 

The clilorophj'le and resin were separated by dissolving the resin in alcohol 
of specific gravity of 90° ; filtered, and the filtrate evaporated to dryness. 

The residuum, insoluble in alcohol, was treated by cold water to defermine 
the starch ; the soluble portion evaporated to a syrupy consistence ; the gum 
and albumen precipitated by alcohol. 

The coloring matter contained in the aqueous part, together with the sugar, 
was not determined. 

The result of the examination of this portion was as follows : — 








Solution in alcohol, . 





Alkaloid and Coloring 

Matter, . 





Resin, . . . . 





Chlorophyle, . 



Starch, . . . . 





Gum and albumen, . . 5.490 5.662 6.002 9.890 

Another portion of each extract was dried and incinerated ; the combus- 
tion was not carried far enough to produce entire destruction of the carbon. 
The ashes were then treated as follows : — 

The carbonic acid gas was determined by weighing by hydrochloric acid 
in the apparatus of Will ; the solution was then placed in a porcelain dish, 
and evaporated to dryness ; then dissolved in water, acidulated with a little 
hydrochloric acid, and filtered, the residuum upon the filter giving carbon and 
silica. From the filtered liquor, all lime was precipitated by oxalate of ammo- 
nia and hydroclorate of ammonia, filtered, and the lime estimated in the state 
of sulphate of lime. The filtered liquor was evaporated to dryness, to expel 
the salt of ammonia previously added, and the residuum dissolved in water; 
to the solution was added ammonia, which precipitated the phosphate of mag- 
nesia, oxide of iron, and alumina. These were separated from each other 
by the usual known process. From the filtered solution free phosphoric acid 
was precipitated by sulphate ammoniaco magnesia. 

Another portion of the ash was dissolved in water, acidulated with nitric 
acid, filtered, and divided into three portions. One portion was treated by 
nitrate of baryta, to determine the sulphuric acid, and by nitrate of silver, to 
determine the chlorine. 

A second portion was treated by antimoniate of potash to determine the 
soda. A third, by chloride of platina, to determine the potassa ; and the 



nitric acid was estimated from another portion of the ash by Pelouse's pro- 
cess. The several extracts gave as follows : — 








Silica, ... 





Phos. Lime, 





Carb. do., 





Phos. Magnesia, 





Carb. Potash, . 





Sulph. do., . 





Chloride do., . 





Nitrate do., . 





Oxide of Iron, . 





Alumina, . 





Nit. Soda, 


Carb. do., 



Lost, . . . , 









Ash, per cent. . 





Total, Potassa, . 





" Soda, 



Total both, 
Total Phosphates, 









It should be observed that the sections watered were sufficiently near as not 
to cause any variation in the character of the soil. It will be seen that 
potassa exists in the ordinary extract naturally, and is increased by special 
treatment nearly 50 per cent., while soda does not ; and, by treatment with 
soda, the potassa is lessened from the natural proportion about 30 per cent. 
The nitrate of soda nearly equals the nitrate of potassa in the natural, and 
the nitrate soda and nitrate potassa, taken together, exceeding the nitrate of 
potassa in the one treated by it, leaving the inference that potash exists in the 
soil, and soda docs not ; that the latter should be used, so as to afford the 
largest amount of nitrates, and showing the disposition of the plant to take 
up both, unless it shall be shown by further investigations that the plant in 
which nitrate exists naturally, affords the largest amount of alkaloid, 
which is hardly probable. 

This analysis explains the cause of the appearance of nitrate potash in 
crystals upon the surface of the inspissated extracts of hyoscyamus. 

It is not difficult to determine the different matter of which a plant is com- 
posed ; but it is quite another field of investigation to determine the manner 
in which these substances are produced, and follow the complicated processes 
which constitute vegetation. The multiplicity of operations continually going 
on in vegetation at the same time ; the variety of substances formed out of 


the same compound ; the harmony, and skill, and certainty, which attend all 
the operations, are too wonderful to pass our observation, and too important 
to us, not to challenge thorough investigation. 

The researches and discoveries of agriculturcd chemistry fully establish the 
fact, that j'lants require for their growth and perfect development, certain 
inorganic constituents, which are different for different classes of plants ; and 
the object of our inquiry is to ascertain which inorganic constituents are in- 
dispensable for the growth of the cultivated narcotics, and perfect develop- 
ment of those principles upon which their value as medicinal agents depend. 

The utility of alkalies in the formation of nitrates, or, indeed, in any form, 
cannot be doubted ; nor can their utility in the formation of organic alkaloids 
in plants be considered a question. 

Liebig says : " The existence of vegetable alkaloids in combination with 
organic acids, gives great weight to the opinion that alkaline bases in general 
are connected with the development of plants ; and it remains to be deter- 
mined by further experiment and analysis which salt is most efEcient in the 
development of the peculiar alkaloid upon which the medicinal activity of 
each narcotic appears to almost entirely depend. Establish the true source of 
the active principle of other classes, and astertain by what process the devel- 
opment of resinous and natural principles Ukewise depends." 

The investigation concerning cultivated narcotic plants, led me to an exam- 
ination of our indigenous, medicinal plants in general use by the medical 
profession, with a view of determining to what particular principle or combi- 
nations their medicinal properties are due. Many have never been analyzed, 
while others have been partially so. As the process employed in the analysis 
of each would occupy too much time and space, I will give the general process 
of analysis pursued, it being varied somewhat by circumstances. 

Most vegetable substances contain, to a greater or less extent, gum, albu- 
men, extractive matter, coloring matter, starch, a principle peculiar to the 
article, resin soluble in alcohol, ether, or their combinations, tannic and gal- 
lic acid, sugar, soluble and insoluble salts. 

The article to be examined is exhausted by cold water, the liquid evapor- 
ated to dryness. In this residuum may be found gum, albumen, peculiar 
principle, coloring matter, sugar, tannic and gallic acid, extractive matter, 
and soluble salts ; to separate these, the residuum is treated by alcohol to dis- 
solve the peculiar principle, coloring matter, tannic and gallic acid and sugar. 
The alcoholic solution is evaporated to dryness, and the residuum treated by 
ether, to dissolve the tannic and gallic acid, coloring matter, and peculiar 
principle, if present. If only tannic and gallic acid are dissolved by the ether, 
the tannin is weighed by a normal solution of gelatine, the difference giving 
the gallic acid. If coloring matter and a peculiar principle are dissolved, 
the liquid should be divided into two parts — in the one, weigh tannic acid by 
gelatine, in the other weigh coloring matter by animal black. From the fil- 
trate, tannic and gaUic acid are precipitated by oxide cf lead, the filtrate 


giving the peculiar principle ; as that portion soluble in alcohol and insoluble 
in ether, may contain coloring matter, peculiar principle and sugar, the color- 
ing matter is separated by animal charcoal, the sugar determined by tartrate 
of copper, the difference being the peculiar principle. 

That portion of the residuum by cold water, insoluble by alcohol, is treated 
by hot water, the albumen collected upon a filter ; the filtrate evaporated to 
a syrupy consistence ; the gum precipitated by alcohol ; the filtrate evaporated 
to dryness, weighed and calcined, the loss indicating the extractive matter, 
the residuum, salts soluble in cold water. 

The same exhausted by cold water is exhausted by hot water, to dissolve the 
starch, coloring matter, peculiar principle and salts. To separate these, the 
coloring matter is determined by animal charcoal, the filtrate evaporated to 
dryness, then treated by alcohol to dissolve the peculiar principle, the insolu- 
ble residuum weighed and calcined, giving the salts soluble in hot water, the 
difference being the starch. 

The same is treated by alcohol to dissolve the peculiar principle, coloring 
matter, resin, soluble in alcohol ; alcohol and ether to separate theni, evapo- 
rated the solution to dryness, treat by hot water to dissolve the coloring mat- 
ter and peculiar principle, which are separated by animal charcoal ; the re- 
siduum insoluble in hot water, treated by ether, gives the resin ; soluble in 
alcohol and ether, the residuum insoluble in ether, is the resin soluble in 

The same is treated by ether to dissolve the resin, soluble in ether. 

The same severally exhausted is burned, the ashes being the quantity of 
insoluble salts. 

The ashes are analyzed by the process pursued on the analyses of the ashes 
of hyoscyamus. 

It will be noticed in the analyses given, that occasionally gum and albumen 
are not separated ; this occurs only when the percentage of albumen is very 
small, and its separation deemed unimportant. 


Complonia Asplenifolia. 

Collected in September. 
Organic Matter, . . 93.600 Organic Matters, . . 93.600 

Inorganic Matter, . . 6.400 Inorganic Llatters, . . 6.400 

100.000 100.000 



Gum and Albumen, . 


Gum and Albumen, . 






Extractive Matter, 

. 0.G28 

Extractive flatter, 




Tannin, soluble in alcohol 


. 0.285 

and water, . 

. 0.968 

Coloring Matter, 

. 20.578 

Tannin, insoluble do., 

. 4.857 

Soluble Salts, 

. 0.878 

Sweet Principle, 


Insoluble Salts, . 



. 6.271 

Ligneous, &c. 

. 65.824 


. 11.702 

Soluble Salts, 



Insoluble Salts, . 
Ligneous, &c., 





Hypericum Perforatum. HamameUs Virginica. 

Collected in July. Collected in April. 

Organic Matters, . . 92.686 Organic Matters, . . 94.515 

Inorganic Matters, . . 7.314 Inorganic Matters, . . 5.485 





Gum, .... 




Albumen, . 






Extractive Matter, 






Extractive Matter, 


Bitter Principle, 






Bitter Principle, 






Soluble Salts, 


Soluble Salts, 


Insoluble Salts, . 


Insoluble Salts, . 


Ligneous, . 


Ligneous, &c.. 





Organic Matters, . 
Inorganic Matters, 


91.67 Organic Matters, . . . 95.00 
8.33 Inorganic Matters, . . 5.00 





Gum, .... 


Gum, .... 




Starch, .... 


Sugar, .... 


Sugar, .... 


Extractive Matter, 


Extractive Matter, 






Partic. Principle, . 


Principle Part., 






*Oil, .... 


Black Resin, 


Soluble Salts, 


Soluble Salts, 


Insoluble Salts, 


Insoluble Salts, 









Organic Matters, . 
Inorganic Matters, 


95.83 Organic Matters, . . .91.67 
4.17 Inorganic Matters, . . 8.33 



Gum, . . . . . 1.13 

Gum, .... 




Starch, .... 




Sugar, .... 


Coloring Matter, 


Extractive Matter, 






Soluble Salts, 


Bit'er Principle, . 


Insoluble Salts, 


Particular do., ins. H. 0. 






Soluble Salts, 
Insoluble Salts, 





. 53.84 





Organic Matters, . 


Inorganic Matters, 



Gum, .... 




Sugar, .... 


Extractive Matter, 




Matter Part., 


Oleo Resin, . 


Olea Resin, . 


Soluble Salts, 


Insoluble Salts, 






Rumex Crispus. 
Collected in October. 
Organic Matters, . . 93.600 

100.00 Inorganic Matters, . . G.400 

Gum and Albumen, 



Extractive Matter, 


Yellow Principle, bitter, 

Yellow Principle, sweet, be 

comes red by concentration, 
Resin, soluble in ether, 
Resin, soluble in alcohol. 
Soluble Salts, 
Insoluble Salts, . 
Ligneous, &c. 



Organic Matters, . 

. 95.43 

Inorganic Matters, 

. 4.5 7 


Gum and Albumen, 

. 3.18 



Extractive Matter, 

. 3.60 


. 3.50 

Sweet Principle, . 

. 8 74 


. 6.74 

Soluble Salts, 

. 3.46 

Insoluble Salts, 


Ligneous, &c. 

. 68.63 



Myrica Cerifera. 



Organic Matte 

rs, . . 95.429 


Inorganic iMatt 

ers, . . 4.571 









n, 6.628 



. 3.341 

. 3.059 

. 55.115 





Gum, . 






Sugar, . • . 


Extractive Matter, 


Coloring Matter, 




Gallic Acid, 


Particular Principle, . 


Resin, . 


Soluble Salts, . 


Insoluble Salts, 








Organic Matter, 
Inorganic Matter, 

Gum and Albumen, 


Extractive Matter, 

Bitter Principle, 

Resin, soluble in Alcohol and 

Resin, soluble in Alcohol, and 

insoluble in ether, 
Soluble Salts, . 
Insoluble Salts, 
Ligneous, &c. . 


Collected in 




Collected iu 



























Collected in the Spring of the year. 

Organic Matters, 
Inorganic Matters, 



















Gum and Albumen, 




Starch, . 




Sugar, . 


Extractive Matter, 




Bitter Principle, 








Tannin, . 




Soluble Salts, . 




Insoluble Salts, • 




Ligneous, &c. 

• 76.502 








Geum Rivale. 

Prinus Verticillatus. 

Collected in October 

Peeled in Spring. 

Organic Matters, 


Organic Matters, 


Inorganic Matters, 


Inorganic Matters, 




Gum and Albumen, 


Gum and Albumen, . 


Bassorin, . . . . 




Starch, . . . . 


Extractive Matter, 


Extractive Matter, 




Tannin, soluble in Water 

Bitter Principle, 


and Alcohol, . 


Resin, soluble in Ether, 


Tannin, insoluble, do., do. . 


Resin, soluble in Alcohol, 


Resin, . . . . 


Soluble Salts, 


Soluble Salts, . 


Insoluble Salts, . 


Insoluble Salts, . 


Ligneous, &c. 


Ligneous, &c. . . , 


100 000 



Orobanche Virginiana. 
Collected in August. 

Organic Matters, 
Inorganic Matters, 


Ruhus Villosus. 
Collected before vegetation had be- 
gun in April. 
Organic Matters, . . 90.144 

Inorganic Matters, . . 9.856 





Gum g,nd Albumen, 


Gum and Albumen, 

. 3.298 

Starch, . . . . 


Extractive Matter, 

. 2.121 

Extractive Matter, 



. 1.485 

Tannin, . , . . 


Bitter Principle, 

. 3.741 

Bitter Principle, . 


Resin, soluble in Alcohol, 

. 1.485 

Soluble Salts, 


Resin, soluble in Ether, 


Insoluble Salts, . 


Soluble Salts, 


Ligneous, &c. . . . 


Insoluble Salts, . 


Ligneous, &c. 






Organic Matters, . 

. 94.16 

Organic Matters, 


Inorganic Matters, 

. 4.84 

Inorganic Matters, 




Gum, . 

. 5.28 




. 1.77 

Albumen, . 


Sugar, .... 

. 1.38 



Matter Part., 

. 11.25 

Extractive Matter, 



. 2.74 

Principle Part., . 






Resin Bitter, 


Soluble Salts, 


Soluble Salts, 

. 5.70 

Insoluble Salts, . 


Insoluble Salts, 


Ligneous, &c. 



. 61.65 

100 000 




Organic Matters, . 

. 95.00 

Organic Matters, 

. 96.386 

Inorganic Matters, 


Inorganic Matters, 




Gum, .... 


Gum, .... 


Starch, .... 


Albumen, . 


Extractive Matter, 








Bitter Prin. Part., 


Extractive Matter, 


Coloring Matter, Yellow, 


Part. Principle, mix to an aci 

J, 1.875 

Resin, soluble in Alcohol, 




Resin, soluble in Ether, 


Fixed Oil, . 


Soluble Salts, 


Soluble Salts, 


Insoluble Salts, 


Insoluble Salts, . 




Ligneous, . 







Cornus Florida. 
Collected in April. 
Organic Matters, 
Inorganic Matters, 


Leptandria Virr/inica. 

Collected in October. 
87.48G Organic Matters, . . 9G.343 

12.514 Inorganic Matters, . . 3.657 



Gum and Albumen, . 


Gum and Albumen, 






Sugar, . . . 




Extractive Matter, 


Extractive Matter, 


Coloring Matter, 


Coloring Matter, . 






Bitter Principle, 


Bitter Principle, soluble ir 

Bitter Principle, Crhys., 



. 7.428 



Resin, . 


Soluble Salts, 


Soluble Salts, 


Insoluble Salts, . 

. 11.164 

Insoluble Salts, . 

. 2.514 

Ligneous, &c. 


Ligneous, &c. 

. 65.647 






Lycopus Virginicus. 




Collected in June. 


in May. 

Organic Matters, 

98 172 

Organic Matters, 


Inorganic Matters, 


Inorganic Matters, 





Gum and Albumen, 


Gum and Albumen, 


Starch, . . . • 








Extractive Matter, 


Extractive ]\Iatter, 






Bitter Principle, soluble in 

Bitter Principle, . 


Ether, . 




Bitter Principle, insoluble do 

. 9.442 

Soluble Salts, 




Insoluble Salts, . 


Soluble Salts, 


Ligneous, &c. 


Insoluble Salts, . 


Ligneous, . 












At last year's meeting, I handed to the Association a paper on the detec- 
tion of adulterations of volatile oils, in which I gave the results of my investi- 
gations of the most important tests recommended for this purpose. I had 
omitted to report on iodine, as my experiments had not proceeded far enough 
to warrant me in laying them before the Association. The subject has been 
followed up by me, and brought to a state sufficiently complete to admit of 
being reported upon. At the same time, I have the pleasure to notice the 
application of iodine in a new form as a test for essential oils, and also a new 
test, bromine, which, hitherto, has not been employed for such a purpose. 

The reaction of iodine with the essential oils has first been noticed and recom- 
mended as a test by Dr. Tuchen, a German apothecary ; it has subsequently 
been studied by Winckler, Beschoener, Flashaff, Walker, and others, and 
particularly by G. H. Zeller, who has laid down his classical researches on the 
properties of the essential oils in his important Avork, " Studien liber die 
Eetherischen Oele." He has also first directed attention to the importance of 
employing certain quantities and proportions of the oil and of iodine, so as to 
make the examinations under conditions as nearly alike as possible. His 
suggestions were to place five or six drops, according to their size, of the oil 
in a watch crystal and add to it two grains of iodine, jireviously fused and 
rubbed into powder ; the iodine is to be added at one time and right into the 
middle of the oil ; after the reaction has ceased, the oil is stirred with a glass 
rod, and the nature of the mixture is noted. If oils of a thicker consistency 
are tested, Zeller has been in the habit to heat slightly the crystal containing 
the oil. In all the following experiments, I have omitted this precaution of 
Zeller, because undoubtedly the reaction between the oil and iodine isincreased 
by the application of heat, while it appears to me essential for the detection of 
adulterations by cheaper oils, to be familiar with theii- behavior under alike 
circumstances and conditions. 


Acting under this conviction, I have taken the precaution to make the 
experiments at a medium temperature, selecting the medium heat of summer, 
ranging from 70 to 85° F. ; but few experiments were performed at a higher 
temperature, and tliey were verified or corrected at the lower one mentioned. 
By adopting these limits, I thought to confine the infiuence of heat within 
practical bounds, which may easily be observed in all cases without any great 

The diflTerence in the reaction of iodine with volatile oils, suggested to me 
the idea of employing bromine, which, while in its chemical properties, closely 
resembling iodine, has for this purpose the advantage of being in a liquid state, 
so that a more energetic and complete action Avas to be expected from it. 
This expectation was verified by experiment, but I soon found that it was so 
violent, as to most hkely exclude the possibility of noticing a difference occa- 
sioned by the presence of other oils. The behavior of a few of the oils to 
pure bromine will be noticed under their respective heads; it was employed 
by allowing a drop of bromine to fall in the centre of five or six drops of the 
volatile oil, placed in a watch crystal. By the violent reaction which was 
shown by all, I was induced to think of a diluent for the reagent and found 
ether to answer this purjjose best. 

After some trial experiments, I have selected a solution of one measure of 
bromine in about five measures of officinal ether ; with a solution of this 
strength the reaction does not proceed too quick, while the changes in color 
and consistency may be easily observed. An ethereal solution of bromine is 
decomposed spontaneously 5 it is therefore best to prepare it extemporane- 
ously. While mixing the two liquids, some caution is necessary to prevent 
their becoming heated, as decomposition would take place, and so much of both 
liquids volatilized that the resulting mixture would be of uncertain strength. 
It is therefore best to immerse the vial containing the ether in cool water, 
and for each fluid drachm of this solvent, add fifteen drops of bromine to it. To 
five or six drops of an essential oil placed in a watch crystal, five drops of the 
ethereal solution of bromine are added. 

In using this test, the evaporation of ether which takes place from the crys- 
tal, absorbs so much heat, that the mixture is kept cool, and no generation of 
surplus heat can be expected. All the articles used in this examination are 
of a volatile nature, and their evaporation is favored by a constant change of 
air ; it is therefore requisite to prevent this, and make the experiments in a 
place excluded from draughts. 

The employment of an ethereal solution of bromine suggested the use of 
iodine in a state of solution ; its ethereal solution appeared to have many 
advantages over the concentrated spirituous tincture, owing to the solubility 
of oils in ether, by which property a more intimate connection and a quick 
and sure reaction would be promoted. I have employed a concentrated 
ethereal tincture of iodine, which was prepared by adding to officinal ether^ 


sufficient iodine to leave some of it behind undissolved. For the same quan- 
tity of essential oils as in the above mentioned tests, three drops of the ethereal 
tincture were added, in a place protected against draughts of air. The drops 
of this ethereal solution were larger than was anticipated ; but I am not pre- 
pared to say whether their size is to be ascribed to the presence of iodine, or 
chiefly to the peculiar form of the lip of the vial from which they were dropped. 

"When testing with the ethereal solution of bromine, a peculiar phenomenon 
had been observed, consisting of a spreadins out of the mixture, up the sides 
of the watch crystals ; this was referred to the evaporation of the ethereal 
liquid, and no farther notice was taken of it; but while experimenting with 
the ethereal tincture of Iodine, and noticing the same behavior, there was a 
marked difference observed in this " spreading" from the presence of some 
oils, and attention was directed to it. The "spreading" consists in the 
uniform working up on the side of the crystal, towards the circumference of 
a larger or smaller quantity of the mixture, with a flapping or wavy motion, 
in some instances up to the very edge of the vessel ; and then returning to the 
bottom again by forming streams from the upper margin down. Some oils 
show but little of this spreading motion, but mix quietly with the ethereal 
liquid, being acted on by the iodine and exhaling the ether ; others, again, 
while they are miscible with little disturbance, subsequently commence to 
spread, gradually running over the edge of the vessel, leaving but little oil 
behind ; sometimes the commotion of the liquids is such as to resemble a brisk 
effervescence or the phenomenon of boiling. 

"While I at first supposed it to be all owing to the evaporation of ether, I 
am now inclined to think that the composition of the various oils e.xerts its 
influence on this activity, while a neutral behavior in this respect of other 
oils can scarcely be founded on any grounds except peculiarity in their com- 
position. I have in this connection to draw attention to a phenomenon, which, 
it seems to me, may be referred to the same reason. I refer to the peculiar 
motion, imparted by certain volatile oils, to a solution of bichromate of potassa 
mixed ^Avith sulphuric acid, which was described by Dr. J. T. Plummer, of 
Eichraond, Ind., in the American Journal of Pharmacy, vol. x.xviii., page 197. 

I regret that my attention had not been drawn to the difference in this be- 
havior at an earlier season, so as to allow me suiHcient time to report all the 
experiments with the ethereal solutions, with a view of observing the particu- 
larities of the various oils in this respect. My notes on this subject are, for 
the reasons above named, rather meagre ; but I give them as they were put 
down at the time, reserving for future observations, to correct and enlarge 
them, if the matter should turn out to be really of interest and importance, in 
recognizing the volatile oils. 

Upon the behavior of the volatile oils towards iodine, various classifications 
have been based ; Tuchen classified them into fulminating oils, in oils which 
dissolve iodine completely, and such which dissolve it but imperfectly. Zeller, 


from his {•arefiil investigations, divided them into five classes, and each of them 
again in various subdivisions ; they are as follows : — 

I. Fulminating, or decomposing with detonation, with much heat, and the 
generation of violet and yellowish red vapors ; 

((I.) Quick and violent fulmination, with mostly violet vapors. Oleum tere- 
binthinjc, sabina?, juniperi, macidis ; 

(b.) Brisk, but less quick and violent fulmination, with principally yellowish 
red vapors. Oleum neroli, bergami, limonis, aurantii, lavandulas, spica;, 
origani, vulganis, petroselini, hcrba;, copaiva'. 

II. Quiet and noiseless evolution of yellowish red or gray vapors, accom- 
panied with a rise of temperature ; 

(a.) Many yellowish red vapors, considerable rise of temperature. Oleum 
cardamomi, melissae, majoranaj, asari Europe ; 

(h.) Few yellowish red vapors, with perceptible heat. Oleum rosmarini, 
serpylli, hyssopi, anisi vulgaris ; 

(c.) Few yellowish red vapors, little heat. Oleum thymi vulgaris, salvias, 
millefolii, cubeba;, cejeputi, menth^e crispas, matricariaj, arnicte flor, anethi, 
foeniculi, anisi stellati, carui ; 

(d.) Few greyish yellow vapors, little heat. Oleum calami, Valeriana? ; 

(e.) Few grey vapors, little heat. Oleum nigell£e, cumini. 

in. Solution without vapors, but with a rise of temperature ; 

(a.) Considerable heat. Oleum cinnamomi Ceylon ; 

(p.) Little and very little heat. Oleum cascarilla?, cydoniaj, absinthii, cin- 
namomi Chin, caryopylli. 

IV. Solution without vapors and heat ; 

(a.) Forming a homogeneous solution. Oleum cynaj, tanaceti, menthae 
piper, origani cretici, sassafras, ruta^, arnica; radicis, petroselini seminis, 
sinapis ; 

(b.) Forming two strata. Oleum asphalti, cera?, succini. 

V. Partial and very sparing solution without reaction. Oleum amygdalae 
amaras, rosa^, petra*. 

Tiie description of the color as it is affected under the influence of iodine, 
is a matter of some difficulty ; it occurs very often that in the first or a subse- 
quent stage of the reaction, a color is produced which strongly reminds one of 
the color of an iodine solution, but at the same time so different as to be easily 
noticed. From the similarity of appearance it was suggested to compare them 
with the color of a solution of iodine, and wherever in the following observa- 
tions, the expression " iodine color " has been used, it is understood to apply 
to a color resembling that of tincture of iodine, diluted with alcohol to about 
four times its volume. From this explanation, other expressions, such as pale, 
deep, yellowish, reddish, &c., iodine color will be readily understood. 

I have to remark yet, that the oils which I have used in these experiments, 
were mostly obtained from reliable sources ; in some instances the commercial 


articles were used, in whicli case I took pains to examine them first in other 
ways, so as to be assured of their freedom from adulterations. The physical 
properties of each of the oils examined by me, will be brielly stated. 

In proceeding to state the reactions as they belong to the -various oils, I 
thought proper to give also the observations of Zeller, which in all cases will 
be distinguished by an aflixed Z. 

Reactions of the volatile oils loith bromine and iodine. 
I. The Carijohydkogens. — Oleum Copaibce. Thin, colorless. 

Iodine. — Faint fulniination, with yellowish red vajwrs and considerable 
heat, developed on stirring. After the reaction the residue consists of a red- 
dish brown iodine compound, adhering like resin to the glass, and a syrupy 
liquid of a brown color, changing into greenish by exposure to the air. Z. 

The reaction is not violent ; the sediment has a blackish brown color with a 
margin of yellowish brown, not iodine color, the oil is yellowish, the whole 
miscible without separating. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Some spreading, mixes with little sediment and a brown 
yellow color ; after six hours, greenish brown, little thickened, scarcely any 

Ether sol. bromine. — The reaction is accompanied by white vapors and a 
green color; after the reaction the sediment is brown, the oil brownish green. 
Oleum Cubebce. — Oily consistence, limpid, a faint greenish tinge. 

Iodine. — Little heat, radiating motion, few grey and reddish vapors ; at 
first the oil is violet ; after mixing, the color is changed toyellowish brown, and 
the residue has the consistence of hone}', and a somewhat modified odor. Z. 

Brisk reaction, without fulmination ; yellow vapors; the color is blue, after- 
wards bluish green ; after the reaction, the sediment has a nearly black color, 
with a blueisli green margin, around which the oil is of a lemon color, growing 
fainter towards the edge. The whole is miscible to a dark greenish liquid, 
from which the sediment subsides again, leaving the oil of a greenish lemon 

Eth. sol. iodine. — Little spreading. The iodine color quickly changes to 
yellowish and greenish brown, then greenish black. After six hours the oil 
is considerably thicker and of a black color, which in very thin layers appears 
blackish green. 

Eth. sol. bromine produces white vapors and a violet color, growing deeper 
in a short time ; after the reaction the sediment is of a deep violet, almost 
black ; the supernatant oil of a dark greenish blue. 

Oleum juniperi hacae. — Thin, limpid. 

Iodine. — The oil fulminates quickly, with evolution of violet vapors and 
much heat, particularly on stirring. The residue is an olcoresinous, blackish 
brown mass, and some scarcely colored oil, the whole miscible with souk' dilii- 


culty to a greenish brown, afterwards olive green liquid. The oil from unripe 
berries fulminates more A'iolently and gives out with the iodine vapors, also 
many of a grey color. AVith old oil the reaction is of shorter duration and 
shows less heat, the residue is easier miscible and has then a reddish yellow- 
brown color, and the consistence of an extract. In all cases the residue has a 
balsamic little modified odor. Z. 

By the reaction much heat ia produced and many grey, but few violet 
vapors ; the residue consists of a dark brown resin and an olive green liquid, 
which after a while are miscible to a half syrupy greenish red-brown liquid ; 
the odor is scarcely modified. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Some effervescence and spreading ; the oil assumes a 
greenish yellow color, while an iodine colored resin-like mass collects on the 
bottom, which after mixing separates again ; the oil has now a light iodine 
color, afterwards a brownish olive-green. 

Ether sol. hrondne mixes with the oil with a radiating motion ; the color is 
brownish yellow, with streaks of brown, which turn to a brownish purple, 
afterwards purplish black ; the supernatant oil is now olive green. 

5ro;n/?ie produces a very violent detonation and many grey vapors; the 
residue by one drop of bromine is thin, pale yellow; by two drops, oily, dark 
olive green; by four drops, thick syrupy reddish brown; the odor of the first 
is nearly unaltered, of the others more modified, but plainly like juniper. 
Oleum Juniperi. — Yellow, very old, resinified, thick, but said to be unadul- 
Iodine. — Slow reaction, little heat, no vapors; the residue consists of a 
brownish black resin and a brownish yellow liquid ; after some time they are 
miscible to a dark brown oily liquid ; the odor of which is juniperous, balsamic, 
reminding of urpentine. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Some irregular spreading out, homogeneous liquid of 
deep iodine color, spreading after a while a thinner and lighter liquid; the 
whole gradually congeals into a reddish-brown resinous mass of the consistency 
of butter. 

Bromine. — Fulmination with very few grey vapors ; the residue is a brown- 
ish red resin and a yellow liquid having a greenish tint, the whole being mis- 
cible to A wine yellow oil ; the odor is little altered, scarcely tereblnthlnate. 
Oleum Petrce. — Colorless, very thin and mobile. 
Iodine. — Not soluble, but gradually altering into a tough, dark yellow- 
brown, resin-like mass, which firmly adheres to the glass, the oil assuming a 
pale carmine color, which, in contact with the air, gradually turns brown. Z. 
Very little soluble, without any visible reaction to a pale, gradually deeper 
carmine colored liquid ; otherwise the oil Is unaltered. 

Ether sol. iodine produces some spreading of a small quantity of a carmine 
colored oil, with a larger portion of a nearly black liquid ; after this reaction 



has subsided, fine spots of a brown colored mass remain upon the sides of the 
vessel, a black oily sediment separates, while the supernatant transparent 
liquid is of a rose color. After six hours, part of the oil has worked itself over 
the edges of the vessel, leaving a little of a deep carmine colored liquid behind, 
and a black mass, which in very thin layers appears of a brown carmine red. 
Bromine. — No reaction by three drops ; the bromine collects on the bottom, 
dissolves slightly in the oil, coloring it yellowish red and constantly evapora- 
ting from the surface with a slight effervescent motion ; six hours afterwards, 
the whole mixture has evaporated, leaving no residue, and the odor of the 
oil unaltered. 

Ether sol. bromine sinks to the bottom, leaving the supernatant oil scarcely 
tinged with yellow. 

Oleum Sabince. — Thin, colorless. 
Iodine. — The oil distilled from the leaves and the tops of the branches, 
showed with iodine the highest temperature, fulminated quickly and violently, 
and left a reddish brown residue, of the consistence of honey, easily miscible 
with the undecomposed oil. Another heavier oil was after the reaction with 
iodine, thinner and olive green. Z. 

Brisk detonation, with violet and grey vapors ; the residue consisted of a 
little greenish brown sediment and a blackish green clear liquid, which were 
readily miscible. 

Ether sol. iodine yields a light reddish yellow liquid and a heavier iodine 
colored oily fluid ; the two are miscible, though not very readily. 

Ether sol. bromine. — The mixture turns instantly colorless with a hissing 
noise ; a lower stratum is separated, which has a whitish color changing to dark 
brown, while the upper liquid, at first transparent and colorless, is rendered 
slightly milky. 

Oleum Succini. — Thin, and nearly colorless. 
Iodine. — Without visible reaction, the dissolving iodine combines to a dark, 
thick liquid, which after some time mixes but imperfectly Avith the thinner 
yellowish brown oil. Z. 

It is partly dissolved with little motion to a yellowish brown liquid scarcely 
miscible with the thicker lower stratum. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Without any reaction, two strata are formed, the upper 
one of which is thin and yellow, the lower one thicker and of iodine>color. 
After six hours, the greater part of it has been working itself out of the 
vessel, leaving a thin yellow liquid behind. 

Bromine. — Violent Elimination, most of the oil is thrown out of the dish. 

Ether sol. bromine generates some white fumes ; the oil remains nearly unal- 
tered in color, while the lower liquid soon takes a purplish brown color. 


Oleum Terebinthime. — Thin, colorless, free of resin. 

Iodine fulminates with energy evolving violet vapors : the residue consists of 
undeeom posed, brown-red oil, and a blackish brown iodine compound, which 
after some time is miscible to a soft dark brown mass, which in contact with 
the air turns greenish brown, and has a disagreeable empyreumatic terebin- 
thinate odor. Z. 

Violent fulmination, with purple colored vapors ; the oil has a brownish 
carmine color, turning to red brown ; around the dark sediment some greenish 
colored liquid is observed, the whole after a while readily miscible ; odor 
terebinthinate, empyreumatic. 

Ether sol. iodine settles to the bottom without any visible reaction, the oil 
gradually assuming a brown carmine color. After six houi-s, it has been 
si)readiug out of the watch crystal, leaving a light brown resinous mass behind, 
of a peculiar resinous empyreumatic odor. 

Bromine causes a most violent fulmination, with an abundance of white 
vapors; much of the oil is thown away, the remaining oil is colorless and unaf- 

Etlier sol. bromine evolves white vapors : during the reaction the whole turns 
white ; the sediment then assumes a light yellowish color, leaving the oil color- 
less ; the two strata are not miscible. 

n. The Oxygexated Oils. 

Oleum Absinthii. — Brown, thick, old. 

Iodine. — The action of iodine varies considerably with the age of the oil or 
of the herb from which it has been produced. Fresh and well kept oil is ren- 
dered of a grass green color, with little heat, but otherwise without reaction ; 
older oils may show a radiating motion, with iodine vapors and a tough ex- 
tractive residue ; or detonation, with evolution of violent vapors, and leaving 
a brown syrupy residue. Z. 

It dissolves with radiating motion to a deep brown syrupy liquid. 

Ether sol. iodine mixes with the oil to a dark olive brown liquid. 

Ether sol. bromine yields a blackish brown mixture without any reaction. 
Oleum Anisi. — Transparent, colorless. 

Iodine. — The oil moderately heated, gives off reddish and Avhite vapors ; 
by stirring, the whole hardens quickly to a resin-like mass, which on cooling 
is fragile. Z. 

It dissolves slowly in the cold oil with some radiating motion and scarcely 
any vapors ; the particles of iodine adhere together and the residue is an 
Iodine colored liquid. But if the reaction has been facilitated by quick and 
continued agitation or slight heating, the whole soon congeals to a brittle brown 


Ether sol. iodine causes little spreading, is miscible to an iodine colored 
liquid, and in a few minutes congeals to a butyraceous mass, which in six 
hours is still sticky and has turned to a deep coffee brown ; in twelve hours 
the mass is hard and brittle. 

Ether sol. bromine Tproduces a quick radiating motion; the color is white, 
afterwards colorless ; more bromine alters it to a light purplish brown. 
Oleum A?iisi siellati. — Thin, pale yellow. 

Iodine generates without effervescence, some bluish red vapors and .little 
heat ; on stirring the mixture, it soon hardens to a resin-like, brittle mass. Z. 

There is scarcely any difference in its behavor to iodine from that of oleum 

Ether sol. iodine. — ■ Perfect solution of iodine color, without spreading; it 
thickens in a few minutes to a butyaceous mass, which after several hours is 
hard and brittle. 

Bromine. — Whizzing noise, white fumes, effervescence ; the residue con- 
sists of a reddish resinous body, and a liquid of a greenish yellovv color, which 
is somewhat thicker than the original oil. 

Ether sol. bromine. — Quick radiating motion ; the oil turns white immedi- 
otely, and remains of that color; more bromine colors it yellowish red, it evap- 
orates in two layers, the upper one of which is lighter colored, somewhat 
turbid, and turns to a purplish color. 

Oleum Aurantu Corticis. — Pale yellow, thin, about a year old. 

Iodine. — The fresh oil shows brisk fulmination, less than oil of neroli. A 
thick, dark iodine compound is separated from the brown red liquid residue, 
the Avhole miscible to a not homogeneous fluid. Beschorner observed no heat 
or fulmination, but a radiating motion and brown red solution, properties 
which probably belong to oil distilled from the old dry peel. Z. 

Some radiating motion and no vapors were observed ; the oil is of a reddish 
yellow, miscible with the iodine sediment to an iodine colored solution. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Spreading; forms two liquids, the upper one pale yel- 
lowish, the lower one thick, reddish brown, almost black ; in six hours, the 
■whole was altered into a dark pitchy mass of an acidulous odor. 

Bromine. — The reaction is so violent that most of the oil is thrown out of 
the vessel, and many white fumes are given off, with the evolution of much 
heat ; the oil left behind, assumes a brownish color. 

Ether sol. bromine generates some white vapors ; the oil is at first left uncol- 
ored, while a brisk reaction is going on ; it then assumes a bright yellow color, 
in a short time yellowish brown stripes appear, forming into a slowly rotating 
crescent, which leaves a brown color behind ; the rotation ceases as soon as 
the color has become a uniform deep brown ; the supernatant oil is now of a 
pale brown color and perfectly transparent. 


The rotating crescent appears to be a characteristic reaction of oil of orange 
peel, with ethereal solution of bromine, and appeared in all the repetitions 
of this experiment. I have tried to find out how far it is influenced by the 
presence of other similar oils, and will here state the results. 

Oil of hcrrjamol four jmrts, oil of or an (je one part. — The ethereal solution 
of bromine has but little radiating motion ; a small crescent appears and dis- 
appears alternately; after the reaction, the color is of a deep reddish brown, 
the supernatant fluid is whitish, turbid, afterwards clear. 

Oil of lemon four jmrts, oil of orange one pari. — Around the ethereal 
solution of bromine in the centre of the oil, a brisk reaction takes place, and 
a bright yellow color is produced, in which soon a small crescent is formed, 
running together to a brown spot ; the whole sedimentary licjuid assumes a 
yellowish brown color ; the supernatant is milky and brownish white. 
Oleum Bergami. — Thin, greenish yellow. 

Iodine. — Brisk fulmination with effervescence, violet and yellow-red va- 
pors and much heat, more than oil of orange. The homogeneous residue is 
of a yellowish brown color, an extractive consistence and of an acidulous 
balsamic odor. Z. 

Vivid reaction, with heat, detonation and the evolution of purple and yel- 
lowish fumes; the residue consists of a black extract and a yellow oil, which 
are readily miscible to a dark, nearly unctuous liquid ; the odor is acetous, 

Bill. xol. iodine. — Some effervescence; the homogeneal thin licpiid is of 
a bright yellow iodine color, gradually deepening ; in six hours, a dark browu 
pitchy mass remains behind. 

Bromine. — Vigorous reaction, with detonation, heat, and white fumes; the 
residue is reddish yellow, the supernatant Vuimd yellow, and both are misci- 
ble to a greenish yellow oil; the odor is little altered and free of acetosity. 

EtJi. sol. hro)nine. — The reaction takes place by an energetic working 
from the centre towards the circumference in one or two directions; the 
color is greenish brown yellow, at the conclusion of the reaction reddish 
brown yellow ; the supernatant liquid is slighly cloudy, whitish, subsequently 
limpid. (See also Oleum limonis.) 

Oleum Cajeputi. — Thin, pale yellowish green. 

Iodine dissolves slowly in the crude oil without visible reaction, the resi- 
due appears curdled. Another sample showed radiating motion, with few 
reddish fumes and little heat, and a more coherent residue. The rectified 
oil evolves yellowish red vapors, little heat, and leaves as residue a greenish 
brown curd, by agitation adhering to a crumbling mass, which appears to be 
characteristic for this oil. Z. 

It produced a radiating movement, without vapors ; the oil has an iodine 
color, and the sediment by agitation runs together into a crummy resinous 


Elh. sol. iodine. — Spreading, mixing to an iodine colored liquid ; after six 
hours the liquid had partly overrun the edges of the vessel, leaving a crummy 
mass, of a nearly crystalline appearance, together with very little fluid of a 
yellow iodine color. 

Eth. sol. bromine sinks to the bottom ; the supernatant liquid is scarcely 
colored ; the reaction is manifested by the appearance of minute greenish, 
and blackish green drops ; they are with difficulty miscible by stirring, but 
separate again as a more homogeneous heavy liquid. 

Oleum Calami — Thickish, pale yellow. 

Iodine dissolves in the heaviest oil, without vapors, a tough extractive mass ; 
oil of medium specific gravity evolves a few vapors ; the lightest oil shows a 
higher temperature and more green and yellow vapors ; the residue of the 
last two was softer. Z. 

It dissolves slowly to a thick, nearly black liquid, some of the iodine ad- 
hering firmly to the glass. 

Elh. sol. iodine mixes quickly to an iodine colored liquid, with a darker 

Eth. sol. bromine works from the centre towards the circumference, one- 
half of the mixture being of a yolk yellow color, the other half of a reddish 
brown ; the first passes through various shades into a brownish green super- 
natant liquid ; the last changes to a rose color, and passing through reddish 
brown to deep black brown, constitutes the sedimentary fluid. 

Oleum Carui. — Thin, colorless. 

Iodine dissolves without commotion or vapors in the heaviest oil, (spec, 
gr. .96 ;) by the oil of .91 and .92 prepared from recently dried seed, 
few grey and violet vapors are evolved; oil 10 years old of .939 sp. gr. 
produces a lively disengagement of violet vapors and some heat ; oil of 
.947 sp. gr., distilled from old seed, is fulminating with violent evolution of 
vapors. The reddish brown residue of all the various oils shows little 
thickening and have but little of a caraway odor, but a peculiar acidulous 
balsamic smell. Iodine appears to be not a reliable test for oil of cara- 
way. Z. 

It dissolves with a radiating motion and little heat to a yellowish red 
transparent li(|uid, which is readily miscible with the darker and thicker 

Elh. sol. iodine. — Brisk effervescence by the first drop, the second and 
third drops mix quietly with the oil to a thin homogeneous fluid of idlone 
color, with scarcely any precipitate. 

Elh. sol. bromine shows little reaction ; a circular yellowish brown color is 
produced ; the supernatant licpiid nearly colorless and perfectly transparent, 
afterwards light brown and cloudy. 


Oleum Carui. — Yellow, old, thick, oily. 

Iodine. — There was some reaction, but no perceptible heat and no vapors ; 
the residue was a yellowish brown liquid and a dark brown extractive mass, 
which were readily raiscible. Odor balsamic, acidulous. 

Etlt. sol. iodine. — Some irregular motion towards the circumference ; the 
homogeneous thick liquid has a concentrated iodine color, a small (juantity of 
a lighter licjuid] separates, which afterwards reunites to a unitbrm thick bal- 
samic mass. 

Bromine produces a hissing noise on coming in contact with the oil, and 
evolves some grey vapors ; the mixture consists noAV of a deep reddish brown 
sediment and a light yellow colored oil, which are readily miscible to a yellow 
oil with but a faintly brown tint. Odor little modified. 

Ether: sol. hromine appears not to readily mix at first, but is for some time 
retained in a semicircle of yellowish brown, afterwards red brown ; the su- 
pernatant oil is light brown and slightly turbid. 

Oleum Caryophylli. — Fresh specimen, pale yellowish brown. 

Iodine dissolved slowly and cjuietly to a greenish yellow brown mass of 
honey consistence and unaltered odor ; the India oil dissolves it still slower to 
a clear, viscid, yellowish red liquid. Z. 

Slow solution, at first yellow, afterwards reddish, thick odor unaltered. 

Ether, sol. iodine mixes uniformly to a yellowish red, iodine colored 

Ether, sol. hromine. — The yellow color of the mixture quickly disappears, 
by changing to greenish, greyish green : an aqueous liquid (from the ether) 
collects on the surface and is nearly colorless ; the oily heavy stratum alters 
its color to a pale greyish black, then brownish black. 

Oleum Cinnamomi Chinensis. — Fresh specimen, brownish yellow. 

Iodine dissolves ciuickly in the oil of Ceylon cinnamon, with little radiating 
motion and much heat, to a tenacious greenish yellow brown mass of cinna- 
mon odor. In the oil of Chinese cinnamon, iodine dissolves slowly without 
any visible motion or reaction, and, with little heat, to a yellowish red brown 
mass of the consistence of soft extracts, and of cinnamon odor. Z. 

It dissolves quietly to an iodine colored liquid ; it then turns yellowish 
brown, blackish brown, and thickens considerably. 

Eth. sol. iodine. — No spreading ; the color changes from iodine to a pecu- 
liar yellowish brown black ; the liquid is of a uniform thick consistence and in 
thin layers transparent ; in six hours it is of a darker color and the con- 
sistence of a soft extract. 

Eth. sol. bromine mixes readily to a lemon yellow liquid which gradually 
turns brown to umber brown and is less thick than the product of the re- 
action of iodine. 


Oleum Chcnopod'd Sem. — Thin, reddish yellow, Baltimore oil. 

lodhie. — Rather slow reaction, without the evolution of vapors; the resi- 
due consists of a yellowish brown liquid and a dark brown resinous idionc 
compound, readily miscible to a brown or yellowish brown oil. 

Elh. sol. iodine causes a slight effervescence and forms two strata, the 
upper one of which is yellow, the lower one of a thick iodine color ; after- 
wards spreading takes place, and in a few hours nothing has been left in the 

Bromine. — Hissing fulmination, with red and white vapors ; the residue is a 
reddish brown resinous mass, and a light brown liquid, which after a while are 
miscible to a deep yellowish brown oil. Odor altered, somewhat resinous. 

Ether, sol. hromine. — The reaction proceeds slowly; the heavier liquid is 
reddish, tinged with brown ; the supernatant fluid is light brown, almost 

Oleum Erigeronis. 

The commercial article of this oil, which has a yellowish brown color, and 
has been recommended by eclectic practitioners, was used for the following 
experiments. As Mr. F. L. John, of Philadelphia, obtained but an exceed- 
ingly small quantity from Erigeron Philadelphicum, the examined oil must 
be gained from Erigeron Canadense ; but I have no means of ascertaining 
its purity. 

Iodine dissolves with radiating motion, but without explosion ; the solution 
is iodine colored, and has a thick blackish sediment. 

Ether sol. iodine mixes to a solution and sediment of the same properties. 

Ether, sol. bromine is miscible, then separates to a brownish green yellow 
thin liquid, a brownish black sediment and a few violet colored spots. 

Oleum Fceniculi — Almost colorless, agreeable and pure fennel odor. 

Iodine. — Oils, rich in stearopten, show radiating motion, evolve some red- 
dish vapors, and thicken to a syrupy or soft extractive mass ; oils with much 
stearopten, produce almost instantly a solid brittle mass, Avhich prevents the 
further reaction of iodine. Iodine seems therefore applicable as a test for the 
proportion of stearopten in oil of fennel ; but stearopten altered by age does not 
congeal to such a brittle mass, and the specific gravity must then decide 
whether the oil is in its fresh state, or old and resinified. Z. 

Iodine dissolves with radiating motion, and some vapors, to a yellow, after- 
wards red liquid ; the dark sediment is with some dilliculty miscible, and forms 
an extractive mass. 

Eth. sol. iodine mixes uniformly to a bright red iodine colored solution, 
which, on standing six hours, is reddish brown, viscid. 

Elh. sol. bromine produces a mixture, which is at first white and milky, and 
gradually shows some brown streaks ; afterwards the supernatant fluid is milk 
white, tinged with greenish brown ; the sediment has a purely brown color. 


Oleum GaultJierice. — Brownish yellow, thin, oih\ 
Iodine dissolves quickly and completely with brisk reaction and some white 

vapors ; the liquid is not thickened, and has a yellow iodine color. 

Ellier sol. iodine. — Some spreading ; miscible to a yellowish red solution; 

after six hours the thin licjuid is of a deep reddish yellow, without a trace of 


Ether, sol. bromine. — Many white fumes are given off, reminding somewhat 

of the odor of fresh parsley root ; the whole watch crystal is covered with a 

coating of a soft, resinous white substance, leaving some unaltered oil behind. 

Oleum Iledeomcc. — Brownish yellow, thin. 

Iodine. — Brisk reaction with explosion, and violet red and grey vapors; the 
residue is a purely brown and viscous liquid. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Xo spreading, some effervescence ; the supernatant liquid 
is thin, transparent, of iodine color, the sediment thick and dark ; after six 
hours, the whole is of uniform tar-like consistence. 

Bromine. — Vigorous detonation, with white fumes ; the residue consists of a 
heavier yellow liquid, and a lighter one which is scarcely colored : they are 
miscible to a very pale, yellowish, thin. oil. 

Ether sol. bromine. — The heavier liquid assumes a purplish brown color; 
the supernatant fluid has a faint brownish tint; the whole is not miscible. By 
exposure to the air, and consequent evaporation of the upper stratum, small 
purplish circles are formed on the surface, and the sediment is rendered of a 
more yellowish brown. 

Oleam LavendulcB verce. ^*- Thin, almost colorless. 

Iodine. — Quick and energetic explosion, much heat and many iodine vapors, 
the strongest reaction of any oil of the labiate. The yellowish brown residue 
is a soft extractive mass of a pungent acidulous balsamic odor. Z. 

Brisk reaction, with detonation and reddish vapors ; the yellowish brown 
liquid is miscible with the darker coloi'ed sediment, to a viscous brown mass 
of an acidulous aromatic odor. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Miscible to a purplish iodine colored liquid ; the purple 
shade gradually disappears, is afterwards rendered brown. 

Ether sol. bromine. — The mixture is of a light greenish color, darkening, 
afterwards of a deep sea green ; some aqueous drops separate at the bottom, 
which are of a light brown color. 

Oleum Limonis. 
I regret very much that I omitted to test a fresh oil of lemon. I had a 
specimen in my possession which was'at least six years old, and had been kept 
for several years in a half filled vial without opening it; it was of a pale yel- 
lowish color, about the consistency of oil of sweet almonds, and had a peculiar 


resinous lemon odor. Knowing it to be unadulterated, I was desirous of ap- 
plying the various tests to it and compare its behavior with that of the fresh 
oil ; but I omitted it at the time, and never thought of it again until I came 
to prepare this paper, when my time was too much occupied to admit of 
making these experiments. Wherever in this paper I have used oil of lemon, 
it was the old thick- article referred to. 

Iodine.— Brisk fulminatlon, less heat than with oil of bergamot; the residue 
consist of a viscid mass and a thin li(iuid, which after some time are miscible 
to a uniform soft, somewhat liquid mass, with a modified odor. Z. (This 
reaction refers to the Iresh oil.) 

The action of iodine is a slow radiating motion, without evolution of fumes; 
the residue is a dark brown resinous mass and a yellow liquid, after awhile 
miscible to a soft sticky mass. 

Eth. sol. iodine. — Miscible, with some flapping motion to a uniform yellow- 
ish, afterward more brownish iodine colored liquid, with but a minute sedi- 
ment; the oil thickens, but retains after some hours a tarlike fluidity. 

Bromine. — Explosion and white fumes; the residue is of a beautiful yellow- 
ish red viscid liquid, and a supernatant one of a pale yellow color, which in a 
short time are miscible to a thin pale yellow oil ; odor little modified. 

Ether sol. Iromine. — Brisk reaction in the centre, around the ethereal solu- 
tion; at the conclusion of the reaction, the liquid is of a reddish yellow color; 
and separates into a lower stratum of a greenish color and a lighter fluid, 
which is reddish white and milky. 

Oleum Bergami and Limonis, equal parts. — The ethereal solution of bromine 
causes an irregular motion towards the circumference ; the color is a light 
brownish yellow, after the reaction a greenish yellow brown. 

Oleum Matricaria;. — Greenish blue, about three years old, well preserved. 

Iodine. — Oil from fresh flowers, two years old, evolved a few reddish va- 
pors, with little heat, the blue color changed through greenish into brown ; 
the residue is tenacious. The residue from the reaction with old oils distilled 
from dried flowers, is soft, extractive. An oil six years old showed no heat or 
vapors, but yielded an extractive mass, which, after an hour could be removed 
from the glass, as if it had been greasy. Z. 

No reaction and no solution is observable, unless the dish is gently heated, 
when few red vapors are given ofl', the color changes to brown, and the con- 
sistence to that of extract. 

Ether sol. iodine is miscible with iodine color, afterwai'ds thickening to a 
black semi-fluid mass, which in thin layers shows a green yellowish color. 

Ether sol. bromine. — Miscible, the colcy: is green, tinged with brown, the 
oil is not thickened. 


Oleum Matricaria; ciiratum. — (Pharm. Barrus.) Greenish blue. 

Iodine. — Brisk, detonating reaction ; the liquid has a reddish brown color, 
and contains a darker sediment. 

Ether sol. iodine is readily miscible to a yellowish red brown thin liquid, 
containing a sediment of a nearly black color. 

Ether, sol. bromine., though mixing at first with the oil, soon separates into 
a greenish yellow thin licpiid, and a thicker oily sediment of a deep green 
color; an excess of the bromine solution has little intluence on the superna- 
tant fluid, except by tinging it brown; but the heavy oil is lendered of a 
greenish brown color ; the two strata are not miscible. 

Oleum Meliss(p.. — Pale yellow, thin, three years old, well preserved. 

Iodine, one grain, with two drops of fresh oil, evolves many reddish and 
grey vapors; the iodine dissolves quickly with considerable heat to a soft 
extract. Z. 

Two grains to six drops produce radiating motion, with scarcely any vapors ; 
the solution has an iodine color, and is thickened. 

Eth. sol. iodine. — Spreading; mixing to a light red iodine colored solution ; 
in six hours, the mixture had a dark brown color, was of a pitchy consistence, 
and its odor reminded strongly of jessamine, while by heating, it was altered 
to an empyreumatic melissa^ odor. 

Eth. sol. iodine. — The oil turns immediately to a bright yellow, and a few 
white vapors are given out ; a quick separation into two layers takes place, 
the lower stratum assumes a brown color, the supernatant is yellow, clear. 
If a larger quantity of the bromine solution is added, the upper layer is soon 
changed to brownish green, while in the lower liquid, some undecomposed 
bromine solution is for some time observed in distinct globules within the 
brown color. 

Oleum Melissce four parts, oleum Limonis one pari. — This mixture shows 
a similar reaction to the former, with the ethereal solution of bromine ; but 
the color deepens in a shorter time, and the supernatant liquid shows a 
brownish yellow color, and is slightly cloudy. 
Oleum Menthce piperitce Americ. — Crude oil, two years old, yellowish, thin. 

Iodine shows a slow action, no vapors or heat ; the whole is miscible to the 
color of burnt terra de sienna, afterwards alters to a blackish brown viscous 
liquid ; the odor is somewhat altered. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Spreading ; the solution is uniform, and has a deep 
iodine color ; after twelve hours, it was a thick chestnut brown liquid. 

Ether sol. hromine. — The mixture show the following changes of color ; 
yellowish, reddish, brown, dark brown, umber color ; it thickens in a short 
time, and its odor is more modified than that of the residue from the iodine 



Oleum Menthcc piperita. Germ. — Rectified, nearly colorless, thin. 

Iodine., aided by stirring, dissolves without any brisk reaction to a reddish 
brown liquid of the consistence of honey ; the residue of heavier oils is 
thicker, but still fluid ; oils distilled from old herbs evolve a few vapors. Z. 

It has a quiet and slow reaction, and dissolves to a brownish liquid with 
which the black iodine sediment mixes to a syrupy liquid. 

Eth. sol. iodine is spreading, miscible to an iodine colored liquid, which 
changes to a thick yellowish, blackish brown; after twelve hours it has a 
deep greenish brown color, and the consistency of butter. 

Eth. sol. bromine. — The mixture has a beautiful rose-color, which gradually 
darkens, but retains in thin layers a pinky shade. 

Oleum Mentltce viridis. — Yellowish red, old, rather thick. . 

Iodine dissolves slowly to an evenly thick iodine colored liquid. 

Eth. sol. iodine shows little spreading, and mixes to an iodine colored solu- 
tion ; in six hours it is a thick, chestnut brown liquid, and after twelve hours 
more, it has a butyraceous consistence. 

Ether sol. bromine. — A few white fumes are evolved ; the yellowish red 
solution passes through various shades to a deep yellowish brown ; the sedi- 
ment is of a lighter color. (Separation of water ?) 

Oleum JMonardre. — The crude oil, light brown, one year old. 

Iodine dissolves quietly ; during the first few moments a nearly vermilion 
red color is produced, which soon darkens to a brownish red ; the nearly black, 
sediment Is of a pitchy consistence. 

Ether sol. iodine is miscible to a clear iodine colored solution. 

Ether sol. bromine mixes to a brownish violet color, which subsequently 
deepens to a dark purplish brown. 

Oleum Mi/risticce. — Colorless, thin. 

Iodine. — Violent reaction with explosion, and with white and some purple 
vapors ; the residue consists of a light blackish green solution, with a deep 
greenish brown sediment, which are miscible to a transparent liquid, assuming 
a more yellowish shade, and is subsequently light greenish yellow. 

Ether sol. iodine. — The mixture has instantly a turbid yolk yellow color, 
and is afterwards transparent and colorless, regains a yellowish brown tint, 
and is rendered colorless again. 

Ether sol. bromine. — At first colorless; the heavier part assumes a light 
brownish milky appearance, the brown shade afterwards disappears ; the 
upper stratum remains transparent, with scarcely a brownish tint. 

Oleum Patchouli/. 
Of this oil which is extensively used in perfumery, I had three dillcrent 
kinds at my disposal, of which at least two were of lots imported at difTerent 


times ; they were all of a brown color, and about the consistency of olive 
oil ; one approached more the consistence of castor oil; their very charac- 
teristic behavior was alike. 

Iodine dissolves with radiating motion, without A-apors, to an iodine colored 
solution which changes to brosvn black, afterwards to bluish green black ; the 
liquid is not thickened. 

Ether sol. iodine dissolves, without spreading, to a homogeneous dark 
green liquid, which is nearly black in appearance; after twelve hours no 
change had taken place, except the formation of a black precipitate. 

Ether sol bromine mixes with the evolution of a few white vapors to a 
solution of a splendid deep violet color; it deepens in its shade so as to appear 
almost black; upon the sides of the vessel, where some spreading had taken 
place, indigo blue stripes, and vermilion red spots -were observed, the color 
of which darkened to greenish black and yellowish green bhick; the oil was 
not thickened ; the sediment had the color of burned umber. 

Oleum Patchouly two parts, oleum Limonis one part. — Xo difference from 
the reaction of the pure oil could be observed in the behavior of tliis mix- 
ture to the ethereal bromine solution, except that upon the sides of the dish 
a brownish green margin was visible. 

Oleum Ilhodii ligni. — Yellowish, slightl}^ viscid. 

Iodine. — Scarcely any action ; but on stirring, the oil assumed a greenish 
hue, and gradually dissolves iodine, forming a deep greenish brown liquid. 

Eth. sol. iodine. — Miscible with very little spreading, and scarcely any 
undissolved particles ; the liquid has a peculiar yellowish brown iodine color ; 
gradually it separates, the upper stratum being of a greenish yellow, the 
lower one of a greenish brown. .In six hours it is again of a uniform thin 
consistence and of a greenish yellow brown color. 

Elh. sol. bromine at first collects on one side of the dish, gradually sinks 
below the oil, and the reaction now shows a pure yolk color ; then brownish 
stripes appear on the surface of the lower stratum, which increase in size 
until the color is entirely changed to umber brown ; the supernatant liquid 
shows scarcely a brownish tint ; after stirring the two together they separate 

Immediately after the above reactions, the odor approaches nearer the per- 
fume of roses, than in the original oil. 

Oleum Rosmarini. — Yellowish, almost colorless, thin. 
Iodine. — Radiating motion of the iodine solution, with few red vapors, 
and some heat ; the yellow brown residue, of the consistence of a soft ex- 
tract, has its odor unaltered. Another sample showed a curdy precipi- 
tate in a yellowish brown liquid, which could not be mixed to a uniform 
mass. Z. 


With a brisk radiating motion and the evolution of white vapors, a solution 
is obtained of a brown color, tinged with yellowish green ; the dark greenisli 
brown sediment is niiscible by agitation. 

Eth. sol. iodine. — Two strata are formed, the lower one of which has a 
deep iodine color, while the upper one is much lighter colored. 

Ether sol. bromine yields a colorless mixture, which separates Into a colorless 
clear upper stratum, Avhile the heavier oil is milky white ; the latter then 
changes to a light brown, and the former is rendered white and cloudy. 
Oleum Ruice. — Yellow, with a bright brownish tint ; scarcely thicklsh. 

/of/i«e. — The oil prepared by Zeller dissolved the Iodine slowly without 
heat, vapors or motion, to a yellow brown liquid ; with the commercial oil 
little heat, a few vapors, and some radiating movement was observed. Z. 

It dissolves with some radiating motion to a yellowish iodine colored liquid. 

Ether sol. iodine. — On dropping it into the oil, some spreading occurs, the 
iodine sinks to the bottom, the supernatant liquid is yellow ; without stirring, 
the two combine to a homogeneous solution of Iodine color. 

Ether sol. bromine. — The mixture Is at first slightly cloudy, but has a pale 
brownish yellow shade afterwards. 

Oleuvi Sassafras. 

I have examined two oils, one anhydrous and colorless, the other one being 
yellowish brown and containing water, both perfectly transparent ; they were 
the upper and lowest stratum of an oil saturated with water, which had stood 
undisturbed for about a month. (See Proc. Amer. Pharm. Assoc, 1858, 
page 355.) 

Iodine dissolves without heat or vapors to a clear, uniform, yellow brown 
liquid, without thickening appreciably. Z. 

It dissolves entirely without vapors or motion ; the solution has an iodine 
color ; the odor is unaltered. 

The yellow oil has the same behavior, only effects the solution slower. 

Ether sol. iodine mixes, with spreading, to an iodine colored liquid, which 
after five hours is limpid and of a rose color. 

The yellow oil yields a darker solution, spreads more than the former, and 
after five hours had changed to a somewhat thicker, blackish brown oil. 

Bromine. — Hissing, some heat, and white vapors ; the oil is milky, and 
around the bromine shows a yellow and green color ; odor somewhat resinous. 
The dark oil was not tested. 

Ether sol. bromine mixes easily, with some heat and vapors ; the mixture is 
milky, with yellowish spots at the bottom. 

The dark oil shows the same reaction ; the liquid is milky, gradually turns 
green ; the sediment yellowish, then green and getting darker ; the margin 
is now blue ; then violet, and subsequently rose color. 


Oleum SerpylU. — Pale yellow, nearly colorless ; thin. 

Iodine produces radiating motion with the oil from the fresh herb, which 
evolves few yellowish red vapors ; with oil from the dried herb, the reaction 
was stronger, more heat and more vapors were given out ; the residue has an 
extractive consistence. Z. 

A brisk radiating reaction takes place, the solution has an iodine color and 
is miscible with the dark sediment. 

Ether sol. Iromine. — Some spreading; the solutionis yellowish red ; after 
six hours, brownish yellow. 

Etlter sol. hromlne. — White vapors ; each drop is immediately decolorized ; 
the oil gradually turns to a greenish color. 

Oleum Spicfc. — Old, greenish yellow, oily consistence. 

Iodine explodes with less force with this oil ; than with oil of lavender, it 
evolves less fumes, but more heat ; the yellowish brown residue is of soft ex- 
tractive consistence and has a modified balsamic odor. Oil of second quality 
evolved few red fumes only by the influence of a larger proportion of iodine ; 
less heat, no vapors, more fluid residue. Z. 

It dissolves slowly by stirring, and has a tar-like sediment. 

Ether sol. bromine mixes to a transparent, reddish yellow liquid. 
Oleum, Tanaceti. — Pale yellow, thin. 

Iodine dissolves quietly without heat and with little radiating motion ; the 
residue is liquid, of the consistency of a thin syrup and unaltered odor. Z. 

On the introduction of the iodine, a brisk reaction takes place, with many 
grey and a few violet vapors ; the solution is deep yellowish green, afterwards 
purely green, and is miscible with the remaining black sediment. 

Ether sol. iodine. — The upper portion is of a yellow iodine color ; the lower 
stratum is thick, brown ; miscible to a yellowish red iodine colored trans- 
parent liquid. 

Ether sol. broynine. — The mixture is at first colorless, separates into a thin 
milky liquid and a heavier light brown oil. 

I was not aware of the considerable variation of the result of the above ex- 
periment with iodine, from the results of Zeller, Liebig and Tuchen, until I 
was collecting my notes for this essay. I knew that the oil employed by me 
was several years old, but as it had preserved its physical qualities, I was satis- 
fied about its purity ; particularly the odor was purely that of tansy, without 
any admixture. Zeller states, alcohol of .85 dissolves the oil in all proportions ; 
that which I experimented with, required three parts of alcohol for complete 
solution at 70° F. The reactions as stated by me, seem to coincide with an 
adulteration with turpentine ; but judging from all physical properties, I am 
still of the opinion that the oil is pure, somewhat modified by age. Could age 
produce such a difference, or is this the effect of our climate ? I shall have 
to inquire into this matter. 


Oleum Valerianai. — Light brownish yellow, rather thickish. 

Iodine dissolves with little heat to a dark yellow brown mass of extractive 
consistence; some genuine oils evolve few greyish yellow vapors. Z. 

The solution is effected with very slight radiating movement ; the liquid 
part is yellowish brown, the sediment nearly black ; without stirring, the whole 
assumes gradually a pitchy consistence. 

Etiier sol. iodine \s miscible with an iodine color to two not well defined 
strata, which by agitation, are easily miscible. 

Ether sol. bromine. — Each drop produces a deep purplish black coloration ; 
a separation into two strata takes place, the lighter one, being in the smallest 
quantity, assumes such a deep violet color as to appear black ; the heavier one 
is of a greenish black color ; around the margin of the whole liquid are red- 
dish and bluish spots and streaks. 

III. — The Sulphuretted and Nitrogenated Oils. 
Oleum AmygdalcE amarce. — One colorless, another one brownish, pale. 

Iodine. — No reaction takes place in the cold or by moderate heating; a 
little iodine dissolves with brown yellowish red coloration and without thick- 
ening. Z. 

My experience with both oils coincides with this observation. 

Ether sol. iodine mixes quietly and readily to a deep iodine colored liquid ; 
the whole of the liquid is spreading out, working up the sides of the vessel a 
thick black margin ; in six hours the whole has run together again, and forms 
a dark brown colored mass of the consistence of honey. 

Etlitr sol. bromine dissolves without reaction ; after favoring the evaporation 
of the ether by a current of air, a separation takes place into a deeper and a 
lighter red colored liquid, with slight cloudiness on the dividing line of both. 
Oleum Sinapis. — Light yellow. 

Iodine dissolves quietly without external reaction to a brownish yellow 
liquid which is hardly thickened. Z. 

It forms easily a perfect solution, with scarcely any radiating motion ; the 
color is a red iodine. 

Ether sol. iodine. — Miscible without any peculiar reaction to a reddi.-h 
yellow iodine colored liquid. 

Ether sol. bromine. — • Miscible, colorless, subsequently slightly milk white. 

Remarks on the Course of Observation. — Above I have described the man- 
ner in which the experiments were performed, by giving directions for pre- 
paring my test liquids, &c. I have also given the mode of Zeller's procedure 
with iodine, which as far as quantity is concerned, I have carefully followed. 
But one grea difference in the mode of our observation is, that Zcller applies 
a moderate heat to the thicker oil, so as to render the fluidity of all about, 
alike, while I have taken the opposite course, by making the experiments at 


as nearly as possible alike temperatures. Necessarily, a difference in the 
degree of the reaction of iodine must arise, and by comparing the energy of 
the reaction of the more viscid oils, such a difference, slight and unimportant 
though it may be, will be noticed, the most vigorous reaction being obtained by 
Zeller's method. 

In the subsequent course of observing the changes, I have also followed 
another suggestion. Zellcr, after the first reaction is over, stirs by means of a 
glass rod, the undissolved iodine together Avith the liquid. It appeared to me 
more important, to notice not only the reaction of the iodine on the oil, but 
likewise that of the oil upon the iodine. This is the reason that in my obser- 
vations, we often meet with expressions, like " dark extract," " deep brown 
pitchy sediment," &c. ; this sediment is generally occas^ioned by the undis- 
solved iodine, which on the point of its contact with the oil, is often changed 
to a resinous mass which envelopes the unused iodine, preventing its farther 
action on other particles of the oil. This is another cause of the difference 
between our observations ; but my course appeared to me to be the better 
one, as, though the energy of the reaction may be partly lost, more time is 
gained for observing the intermediate changes, while the final results will 
in most cases be nearly alike, although from the greater amount of heat, 
necessarily developed by agitating the two reacting substances, a farther going 
change might reasonably be expected. 



In the October number of the American Journal of Pharmacy for 1850, 
Dr. Edward Jenner Coxe, of New Orleans, published a method of preparing 
mercury with chalk, by means of shaking the materials together in a bottle ; 
which method had been communicated to him by Mr. "W. Hewson, formerly a 
druggist of Augusta, Georgia. In the April number of the same journal for 
1852, Mr. Peter V. Coppuck, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, published a simi- 
lar method for preparing mercurial ointment, in which he effected the neces- 
sary shaking by attaching the bottle to the saw-gate of a saw-mill, during 
three days. And in the same journal for July, 1852, Mr. James Beatson, of 
the Naval Hospital, New York, published a formula for blue pill, by which 
the mercury was comminuted by trituration Avith honey, and the other in- 
gredients of conserve of roses were afterwards added in succession. 

. Although in view of the experiments of Boerhaave in making his ethiops 
per se, by means of windmills and other wheels, the idea of dividing the mer- 
cury by succussion, rather than by trituration, could not be considered either 
novel or original, yet these publications led the writer to believe that much 


better and more uniform preparations might be made, and much time and 
labor be saved, by some elimination and modification of these ideas, and 
the application of proper mechanical contrivances. Accordingly, during 
some three years past, three plans have been tried, and two machines put in 
operation, with the effect of finally arriving at a practical result, which is 
considered to be an important improvement in the pharmacy of these pre- 
parations, and which it is the object of this paper to communicate to the 
Association, in the hope of improving the condition of the common market 
in this important class of medicines. 

The desideratum in respect to these preparations is now generally conceded 
to be that the mercury should be in a finely divided state, and free from oxida- 
tion. At least the writer's own observations have thoroughly convinced him 
that the valued characteristic mildness and gentleness of action in these mer- 
curials is in direct proportion with their freedom from oxides of mercury ; 
and, therefore, to divide the metal properly, and, at the same time, to secure 
it against oxidation, were regarded as the points of primary importance, and 
conditions which any method must fulfil in order to be successful. After the 
expenditure of the usual amount of time, labor, and money, by which alone 
a great majority of all practical results are arrived at, step by step, the ma- 
chine, of which a drawing is herewith presented, was constructed and put in 
operation with good effect. It was made from the writer's original drawings 
by Messrs. Hewes & Phillips, machinists, of Newark, N. J., at a cost of 
$137. Upon a recent inquiry of this firm, with a view to this pubhcation, it 
appears that now they are in possession of the working drawings and the 
necessary patterns and experience with the work, they can make them at a 
much lower price, namely, $120. 

The machine consists essentially of two gates or frames, each capable of 
holdino' securely a bottle of the capacity of one gallon, moved up and down 
in guides, by means of connecting rods or pitmans, and a crank shaft and 
pulley ; and it may be briefly described in reference to the accompanying 
sectional drawing as follows : — 

A. Frame of ash plank, 4 by 12 inches, held together by double tenons and 

B. Blocks or bolsters supporting the journal-boxes of the driving or crank- 

C. Crank-shaft for giving the shaking motion, operated by a 4 inch belt 
upon a central fast and loose pulley D. This shaft is made in two parts and 
coupled, the fast pulley being the coupling. 

E. Connecting rods or pitmans, made hollow for lightness. 

F. Frame of wrought iron for holding the bottle, free to move vertically in 
the guides. 

G. Guides, bolted securely to the frame, one side of one guide being fitted 
with a composition jib and set screws for taking up lost motion by wearing. 

Scale '^ 11 .- y/?. 

i?a? C TjancL &.4vbj' ZUh 



H. Round wooden block, fitted into the lower part of the gate or frame F., 
upon which the bottle is placed. 

I. Screw, with wheel, passing through a boss at the crown of the gate F. 
To the point of the screw is attached loosely, by means of a shoulder and 
nut, an iron cap, the lower edge of which, by being forced down into the 
shoulder of the bottle by the screw, holds it firmly in its place. About one- 
sixth of this cap is cut away to allow the head and neck of the bottle to be 
passed in and out. 

K. The bottle in position. The fragile bottles, with their somewhat inse- 
cure corks, might be advantageously replaced, as was originally designed, by 
cast iron vessels, of similar size and somewhat similar shape, with a cover 
fitted by a ground bevelled joint, at a point corresponding with the shoulder 
of the bottle. 

The frame is securely fastened in all directions in the upright position, and 
the shaft driven at a speed of 240 to 250 revolutions per minute. The mo- 
tion would be rendered more uniform and more eifective, if there was a small 
fly-wheel placed upon a prolongation of the shaft, outside the frame. In the 
use of ordinary glass bottles, however, this would be at times objectionable, 
■when a. cork becomes loose, and it is necessary to stop the machine suddenly. 

When driven at the speed indicated, the bottles and contents become 
pretty rapidly heated by the friction and succussions, and it is necessary then to 
remove the corks, to relieve them from the danger of being blown out, or the 
bottles burst, by the pressure of expanded air within •, and in a continuous 
process on a large scale, it is best to use two sets of bottles, one set ot 
which has time to cool while the other is in motion. In this manner the 
mercury for 200 lbs. of blue pill may be very thoroughly divided in the space 
of six hours, so that the globules are of uniform dimensions, and but just 
barely visible in a strong light with a good pocket lens. Of course the amount 
of oxidation possible, is limited by the amount of air contained in the bottle 
with the ingredients ; and this, by actual experiment, proves to be so slight 
as not to be appreciable upon ordinary examination. For the most perfect 
and rapid comminution, the bottles should be about one-third filled by the 
materials, since the " throw," or limits of motion of the machine, is calculated 
to give the most thorough and effective succussion Avhen thus charged. 

The making preparations of metallic mercury is by no means all, though, 
perhaps, the most important, uses of this simple machine, since many binary 
compounds may be made by it very speedily and very perfectly. Thus, for in- 
stance, iodine and iron with water, after the active reaction is over, are very per- 
fectly combined in a very few minutes. Mercury and iodine with alcohol, and 
some other similar compounds, are easily and rapidly made, while mercury and 
sulphur are combined to form vermilion, the hue of which has been judged 
to excel all except the Chinese. Such decompositions as that of iodide of 
iron by metallic cadmium, in making iodide of cadmium, are also rapidly and 


conveniently effected. For such purposes as wasliing chloroform, ethers, oils, 
etc. ; for saturating solutions, and many minor purposes, it is also very useful, 
and becomes a valuable laboratory assistant. 

In using this machine, the following are the formulae which the writer finds 
very convenient in practice. They are deduced from the formula; of the 
Pharmacopoeia, and yield preparations strictly in accordance with it in mer- 
curial strength, and in detail of materials, except in the introduction of 
honey into the mercury with chalk, and the increased proportion of suet in 
the mercurial ointment. 


Take of Mercury, strained, 20 lbs. Avoirdupois. 

Honey, 3 " 

Prepared chalk, English precipitated, . 31 " " 

Water, 4| gallons. 

Introduce half the mercury and half the honey into each of the gallon bot- 
tles, and shake the mixture for three hours. Then mix the chalk into a paste 
of a uniform consistence with the water, in a proper vessel, and having added 
about three pints of this mixture to the contents of each bottle, shake the 
■whole for half an hour. Then pour the contents of the bottles into the mix- 
ture of chalk and water, and rinse out the bottles with a little water ; and, 
having thoroughly stirred the whole into a smooth, uniform mixture, trans- 
fer it to a strong muslin strainer, and jolt the strainer occasionally, until no 
more liquid drains off". Then break the mass up into fragments, spread it 
upon drying frames, and dry it at a gentle heat, until the lumps break very 
easily into a smooth, sabulous powder. Finally, crush the lumps in a mortar, 
without much trituration, and preserve the i-esulting powder in bottles 
secluded from light. 

In mixing the chalk, a porcelain-lined or stone-ware vessel, with smooth 
surface and round bottom, is preferable, as facilitating the uniformity of the 
mixture. The proportion of water directed, minus four fluid ounces, reserved 
for rinsing the bottles, makes the chalk into a paste, which, although 
fluid enough to be poured, is not thin enough to allow of easy separation 
of the water at the surface, or of falling of the mercury to the bottom, either 
in the vessel or in the strainer. In mixing, the chalk should be added to the 
the water in successive portions, with stirring, and not the water to the chalk, 
because a more perfect mixture is thus effected in a shorter time. In the 
draining, about three gallons of water and honey will separate, leaving the 
20 lbs. of mercury, 31 lbs. of chalk, and about l^lbs. of honey, with the 
remainder of the water, on the strainer ; but when the remainder of the water 
is dried out, the jjreparation weighs fully 52 lbs., sometimes 52^ lbs. The pro- 
portions of the officinal formula require 53^ lbs. as the finished result ; but 
there is always some accidental loss in the process, and as the loss falls most 


heavily upon the mercury in the pouring, shaking, etc., the figures as given 
yield, in practice, a more accurately officinal result than if a larger proportion 
of chalk be used. 

The resulting preparation, of -which a specimen is exhibited to the Associa- 
tion in the collection of Messrs. Carter, Colcord & Preston, is one of a far 
lighter color than that usually met with, and is bluish-gray, not blue. 

This difference from the usual standard is probably because the color of the 
commercial article, when due to mercury at all, is heightened and changed by 
the portion oxidized in the process ; and it varies with the quantity of oxide 
and the stage of oxidation, from a dull grayish-blue to a lighter, and some- 
times even rosy tinge. 

In this preparation the mercury may be readily seen by the microscope, or 
with a single powerful glass, upon a gently compressed surface of the powder, 
or on rubbing it very gently upon the hand ; but strong, or even moderate, 
friction between the finger and thumb renders the mercury very plainly 
visible even to the naked eye, because in this, even more easily than in any 
other preparation of metallic mei-cury, some of the little globules are thus made 
to run together. The preparation, when well made, is rather tender or delicate, 
and careless or rough manipulation under strong friction, particularly upon a 
certain class of rough surfaces, will at times cause the mercury to run together, 
and spoil the preparation. If the mixture of mercury and honey be added 
to the chalk without Avetting the latter, no matter how finely the mercury may 
have been divided, it run^ together at once, and is nearly all of it speedily 
found in its orifrinal bright Ikiid state at the bottom of the chalk. If the chalk 
be then mixed with water, a little levigation separates the remainder ot the 
metal in a more or less divided state ; and thus the whole of It, as nearly as 
can be ascertained by a scale which weighs 20 lbs., may be recovered, leaving 
the chalk as white and clean as it was originally. Therefore, in this prepara- 
tion, the materials are in a mere mechanical mixture, or at least the propor- 
tion, of metal oxidized must be too small to produce the slightest practical 

The use of honey in this formula is not authorized by the Pharmacopoeia, 
yet the writer believes that the preparation is rendered more uniform and 
more stable by it, and that thus the aim of the Pharmacopoeia is better at- 
tained. The writer is fully aware that such infringements or iiiterpolations of 
officinal formulae are improper and dangerous, because they become prece- 
dents and examples for irregularities and departures of all kinds ; and it is 
not even a valid excuse for this to assert, from absolute experiment, that he 
does not believe that the preparation can be made on a large scale in strict ac- 
cordance with the letter of the officinal formula. 

In medicinal effect, the preparation by the above formula, unlike the com- 
mercial article, neither vomits nor purges, but produces rather a sedative 
effect in the class of cases in which it is indicated, while its exhibition is pretty 



speedily followed by the desired change in the evacuations, and by the mild, 
alterative eiFect. It is emphatically a mild and not an irritant preparation, 
■while of its due efficacy there appears little room for doubt. 

The formula can be pretty easily and conveniently used by the pharma- 
ceutist in the small scale, the bottle being shaken by hand. Using the c^uan- 
tities of the officinal formula with half an ounce of honey, the mercury may 
be well divided with about three hours' shaking. This shaking, of course, 
need not be a continuous operation, but may be performed five or ten minutes 
at a time, till the projoer degree of comminution is attained. In order, how- 
ever, not to leave this point of proper comminution open to variations of 
judgment or opinion, it is proper to keep good account of the time, so that 
the whole shaking be not less than three hours, since, unlike the process by 
trituration, the comminution is in pretty direct ratio with the amount of labor. 
The process by trituration cannot be properly effected in double this length 
of time when performed in the most dexterous and skilful manner, whilst, if 
attempted without the dexterity, it is almost impossible to accomplish the 
object at all, since strong, forcible trituration will cause the mercury to run 
together in any preparation the writer has seen tried. 

In concluding this notice of this preparation, the writer refers to a paper 
upon it, published in the American Journal of Pharmacy, 3d Series, Vol. v., 
No. 5, and also to a note on the same preparation, in a paper read before this 
Association last year, in order to correct some minor points in accordance 
with farther experience. In the first of these papers, is a statement that the 
powder of mercury with chalk, when good, is never mobile or sabulous, but 
always a little cumulative or clammy. This statement is erroneous, or, at 
least, needs the explanatory modification, that such properties of the result- 
ing powder belong to the character and quality of the chalk used ; and the 
English preci[iitated chalk usually found in the market, in seven or fourteen 
pounds bundles, appears best adapted to the purpose, and always yields a 
flowing or sabulous powder. 

Another statement in the last mentioned paper, to the effect that it is im- 
possible to prepare the powder properly on a large scale by shaking in a bottle, 
has been since disproved, by the introduction of honey into the formula as a 
vehicle for the comminution. 


It was for the Improvement of this preparation particularly that special at- 
tention was directed to perfecting the new machine ; and the success in this 
instance led naturally to is application, first, to the ointment, and lately to the 
mercury with chalk. 


Take of Mercury, strained, ..... 33^ lbs. Avoirdupois. 

Honey, 6 " " 

Red Roses, powdered, .... 4 " " 
Sugar, light brown (linown commercially 

as " Stewart's B."), ... 35^ " " 

Liquorice Root, powdered, . . .17" " 

Rose water, 1 gallon. 

To lialf the mercury, in each bottle, add half the honey, and shake the 
mixture for three hours. Then dissolve the sugar in the rose water, by means 
of heat, and, when the solution is complete, stir In first the powdered liquorice 
root, and then the powdered rose leaves, until a smooth, uniform paste is 
formed. Then add the contents of the bottles ; rinse them out with a very 
little water, and again stir the whole very thoroughly. 

Allow the whole to cool over night, and then, by a kneading machine, by 
a pair of rollers travelling at equal speed, or by hand, knead and beat the 
mass, by portions, into a uniform color and consistence, taking care to avoid 
much friction upon the surface of the lumps in manipulating them. When 
the mass is weighed off into pots, the upper surface should receive a light 
coating of glycerine. When properly managed, the mass weighs 100 lbs. 
Avoirdupois, and puts up 99 lbs. in pots of 1 lb. each. 

The preparation thus made is of the exact strength and composition 
directed in the officinal formula, since due allowance is made for loss in man- 
ipulation, except that, in heating the rose water, some of the odor must be 
lost. This is, however, of so little importance here, that in any reconstruc- 
tion of the officinal formula, the rose water might be, without disadvantage, 
replaced by water. 

In mixing the materials, a smooth iron pot, or one with a porcelain lining, 
answers very well, and the heat used should be by steam. Tbe sugar should 
be in perfect solution before the powders are stirred in ; and in proportion to 
this, and the thorough warming of the mixture before adding the mercury, 
is the smoothness and dark color of the resulting mass. If the thick syrup 
be not hot, its moisture does not penetrate the powders well, and the mass then 
has more of the color of the dry liquorice root powder. At best, however, it is 
of an olive color at first. This is improved by the kneading, and still farther by 
a few months' keeping, during which time the powders gradually absorb the 
moisture more thoroughly. 

When the mixing is finished, and the vessel to be left over night that the 
mass may cool and stiffen, the mixture should be well scraped down from the 
sides, and the mouth of the pot be covered by a wet cloth, otherwise the por- 
tions adhering to the sides above the mass become so hard and dry, by the 
heat of the vessel, that In scraping them down some of the mercury will, un- 
avoidably, be made to run together. The pot cannot, under any circum- 


stances, be scraped very clean •with safety to the preparation, unless the mass 
be soft, and mucli care be used. 

In the case of this preparation also, the color is lighter and somewhat dif- 
ferent from the commercial mass. It is gray, rather than blue, but with 
bluish, and also an olive tint. When well made it has a slight odor of the roses, 
and never becomes hard or friable. If due care be not taken, in manipulat- 
ing it, to avoid much friction upon the kneading-board, sparse globules 'of 
mercury may be sometimes seen upon the exposed surface ; but no scrutiny, 
even with the aid of an ordinary lens, should be able to detect globules on 
breaking open the mass. Gentle friction between the finger and thumb, or 
upon a piece of white paper, just so as to get a thin layer spread out, should 
render the mercury visible by the aid of a strong glass; and if the friction 
shall not have been so great as to cause the globules to coalesce, they will ap- 
pear of a very uniform size, and uniformly distributed through the mass. 

No ordinary kneading, or pounding, or pressure, will cause the globules to 
run together upon the surface or internally ; but the writer has often seen a 
single hard rub upon the kneading table, where a little of the mass may 
have become hard and dry, from absorption of its moisture by the porous 
wood, produce a surface, both on the table and on the lump of mass, covered 
with globules visible to the naked eye, from a preparation that was unexcep- 
tionable. It has thus happened that careless persons have inexcusably spoiled 
the character of a good preparation. 

In no way has the writer ever been able to detect oxides of mei'cury In 
this preparation; and, in practical application, its characteristic mildness and 
efficiency of action appear well sustained. As a deduction from the experi- 
ments of Mr. C. Bullock, of Philadelphia, given in his valuable paper upon 
this preparation, read before the Association last year, the presence of oxides 
of mercury need hardly be feared In a well-made mass, when the officinal 
formula is comj)lied with ; and he has given an entirely new point of great 
significance and importance to the value of using only conserve of roses as 
an exciplent for the mercurial. The common practice of using some cheap 
form of starch to form the mass, although never admissible or excusable. Is 
now shown to be more than ever reprehensible. 

At the request of the writer, his friend, Mr. P. Wendover Bedford, phar- 
maceutist, of No. 717 Sixth Avenue, New York, made some detailed experi- 
ments upon this preparation, with a view of ascertaining whether the method 
of shaking might not be advantageously substituted for that by trituration, 
upon a scale applicable to the wants of pharmaceutists, and the results of his 
skilful trials show clearly that by operating upon quantities only three times 
greater than those directed in the Pharmacopoeia, (namely, three ounces of 
mercury,) and by using the separate ingredients of the conserve of roses pre- 
cisely as given in the above formula, an excellent preparation may be made 
in about thi-ee hours' shaking, samples of which from Mr. Bedford's hands, are 
herewith presented to the Association. 


To those who know the amount of labor and time that must be given to the 
proi;ess by trituration with conserve of roses, the above results of Mr. Bed- 
ford, will hardly fail of due appreciation ; and should this modification be 
admitted in the Pharmacopceia, it may encourajie many pharmaceutists in the 
most laudable course of preparing as far as possible their own more important 


Take of Mercury strained, . 25 lbs. avoirdupois. 
Lard, . . 15 " " 

Suet, . . 10 " " 

Warm four pounds of the lard until it can be conveniently poured into the 
bottles, and then put half of it, and half the mercury "into each bottle and 
shake the ir.ixture for three hours. Then warm the suet and the remainder 
of the lard together in a proper vessel until the mixture becomes transparent, 
and having added the contents of the bottles, set the vessel in cold water, 
and stir vigorously until the ointment stiffens. 

The proportion of suet here given is far beyond that directed in the oflfi- 
cinal formula, and necessarily so, since it appears impossible to obtain lard 
that will yield a stable ointment in the proportions of the oflicinal formula. For 
many years past, quantities of this ointment have been spoiled by the writer 
in the endeavor to make the officinal formula yield a proper preparation, 
and little by little the proportion of suet has been increased till the above 
proportions have been arrived at, and still the ointment thus made separates 
during the summer of the Southern States, a stratum of fat, free from mer- 
cury being found on top. In making, again the writer has determined to use 
equal parts of lard and suet for the purpose of securing a stable ointment. 
It is rare now, or rather in the writer's experience impossible to get the old 
fashioned " beef lard," upon which the officinal formula is based, and the 
nearest approach to it is the so-called " pressed " or " perfumer's lard," and 
this is the article used in the above formula. It is commonly very white and 
clean, and free from saline matter and commands a high price, and yet it 
■will not yield an ointment that will resist the hot weather without the propor- 
tion of suet above indicated. 

In this method of dividing the mercury, there is no need of the common 
slovenly additions of old candles or other form of rancid fats, and the finished 
preparation is as sweet and odorless as the best lard can be, yet the mercury 
is very finely divided, and no instance has ever reached the writer in which 
the ointment was found imperfect or inefficient in its medicinal application. 

There appears to be no inconvenience in practice from having the oint- 
ment of a firm consistence, because the heat of the skin is always sufficient 
to melt it during inunction. As commonly met with in the shops, particularly 
•when intended for the Southern market, it is of the consistence of tallow, 
and is probably made from tallow. It is, therefore, rather a cerate than an 


ointment, and really appears to require this consistence in order to retain a 
uniform composition. 

This preparation may also be made in small quantities in a bottle, by 
hand-shaking, more perfectly, and with the expenditure of much less time 
and labor than by trituration. But, if the shaking be not performed con- 
tinuously or at short intervals, the bottle must be kept setting in tepid water, 
or in a warm place, in order to keep the mixture sufficiently iluid. The 
same aggregate time of shaking, namely three hours, is required for this 

New York, September, 1850. 



Ih laying the following remarks before the meeting, I must state that some 
of the facts I shall mention are truly enough not new ; but as I have endeav- 
ored to arrange and harmonize them with my personal observations, they 
may contribute much to the understanding of the changes which this prepar- 
ation is liable to, and of the remedies proposed for their alleviation. 

First, as to the strength of the liquor. I have made this preparation by all 
the formulas given in the different pharmacopoeias and books, some with a 
greater or less excess of iron, some with iron wire, others with filings, some 
with application of heat, others without ; some filtered into sugar, others into 
syrup — but in not a single instance have I found them to contain fully the 
proportion of iron corresponding to the amount of iodine employed. 

The solution, always directed to be made by digesting iodine and iron in 
varying proportions, is of an acid reaction. It is thus not only shown by the 
test on blue litmus paper, which might possibly and partly be supposed to arise 
from the action of the iodide on the organic substance, but also by the con- 
tinued disengagement of hydrogen gas, if ever so slow, going on in the solu- 
tion when digested at a higher temperature with clean iron wire or metallic 
zinc. That a formation of hydro iodic acid takes place during the reaction, 
in the first place, of iodine on iron is made quite perceptible by the smell of 
carburetted hydrogen arising form the mixture, especially when heated or 
made from filings. This excess of hydro iodic acid, in no case amounts to more 
than two per cent, of that in combination, but is in no other way injurious to 
the preparation. A deficiency of iron is further caused by the never wanting 
impurities of iodine. I shall farther on return to the tests of this substance. 

The strength of the officinal solution in iodide of iron should be set down 
as seven grains per ounce. 

The large excess of iron used, does in no way contribute to increase the pro- 
portion of it going into solution. It rather causes a loss of iodine by in- 


ducing too rapid a combination and evolution of heat. The ingredients should 
be kept as cool as possible, though it may require a little more time. Appli- 
cation of heat will always drive otfa portion of iodine ; and mudi more sesqui 
oxide of iron will be found suspended in the liquid after heating. 

The use of iron filings should be discarded. Not only that they are objec- 
tionable on account of the inapurities which they unavoidably contain, but 
their action on the iodine is far too rapid, even when no heat is applied. An 
admixture of brass filings, which must have been used in the coppery prepar- 
ation, examined by ^Ir. Maisch some years ago, is by no means uncommon. 

It is of some importance that the water employed should be free from 
organic matter and air. Distilled water is directed to be used ; but I venture 
to say, this direction, as in most other instances, is but rarely followed. There 
is somewhat of an excuse for the scarcity of distilled water in the shops, from 
the fact that it costs far more than would balance the advantages derived 
from its use in many preparations. But, why not use melted ice ? It is 
strange that so excellent a substitute for distilled water has hardly ever been 
mentioned. The writer has been using it during the whole summer for the 
same purposes, and never found it to act in the slightest degree cm nitrate of 
silver or baryta. It is best prepared by melting clean, transparent pieces of 
ice in a glass jar, and drawing off by means of a siphon, from wliat sediment 
may have formed during melting. I would recommend this to the consider- 
ation of the Association, since, throughout the whole country, ice has now be- 
come so common an article for domestic use, that pure water will be within 
the reach of every one, if its production in the manner indicated is once ad- 
mitted as a fact. 

The mixing of the ingredients should not take place in a porcelain dish, but 
a glass Hask or vial, since no heat from without is required to induce their 
action on each other. Of the recipes published for this preparation, none 
appears to answer so well as that given by Dr. Squibb, (vide Proceedings for 
1858,) principally by the manner in which the fresh solution is protected from 
the action of air from without, and that in the sugar. This one cause of the 
changes, which the saccharine solution undergoes, is most effectually removed 
by filtering Into syrup. But not the action of the air, which afterwards comes 
into contact with the liquor, from the surface downwards. I have as yet not 
seen a liquor or Syrupus Ferri lodldi which did not turn brown when the 
bottle containing it was frequently opened or left open. 

The following experiments were made as continuing those of ]\Ir. Maisch, 
published In the American Journal of Pharmacy of 1854. I merely give the 
results of the different tests, the details being too lengthly. The solutions 
were all made with chemically pure iodine and fine Iron wire. 

The officinal Liquor Ferri Iodide contains free hjjdro-iodic acid, and the 
quantity of iron in solution is not sufficient to bind all iodine. 

Cane sugar is completely changed to grape sugar by heating with dilute 



Tiydro-iodic acid Freshly prepared simple syrup, diluted with water and 
heated with a small quantity of hydro-iodic acid, a portion of the liquid pre- 
cipitated by nitrate of silver and filtered, the excess of silver removed by 
carbonate of potassa, and the filtered liquid added to a hot alkaline solution 
of potassio-tartrate of copper, — showed the distinct reaction of grape 
su^ar, that is, precipitation of suboxide of copper. To judge from the test 
with ferri cyanide of potassium, as lately given by Anthon, no cane sugar was 
left in the liquid. 

Cane augar is changed to glucose with hydro-iodic acid and the light and 
heat of the sun acting together. The qualitative tests were made as above, 
and showed the presence of grape sugar, but only in a small proportion. 

Hydro-iodic acid dissolves a large amount of hydrated sesqui-oxide of iron, 
forming a yellow soZu/ion, and a deep blue precipitate with ferrocyanuret of 
potassium. On heating it turns pale under escape of iodine, and then precipi- 
tates a paler blue. AVhen cane sugar is present, it is converted into glucose. 

The hrowned Liquor Ferri lodidi heated with hydro-iodic acid or iodine 
is brought hack to its original color loith disengagement of iodine and forma- 
tion of grape sugar. It then gives a pale blue precipitate with ferro cyanide 
of potassium, which turns dark rapidly. To find the presence of any acid 
besides hydro-iodic, I precipitated part of the bleached liquid with nitrate of 
silver, washed the precipitate, and decomposed it by digestion with metallic 
zinc. The solution of zinc, which should contain all the iodine previously 
combined with the silver, was precijiitated by carbonate of soda, and the 
alkaline solution tested for iodic acid, qualitatively and quantitatively. It 
showed no formation of iodine by the addition of hydrochloric acid, but some 
was set free by sulphuric acid. The first test is conclusive as to the absence 
of iodic acid, the latter reaction takes place with all iodides ; whether an iodate 
be present or not. I determined the quantity of iodine present by oxidation 
with a graduated solution of hypochlorite of soda. The amount found corre- 
sponded precisely with the quantity of the silver contained in the precipitate. 

I conclude from this absence of iodic acid in the decolorized li(|uor pre- 
pared from pure iodine, that the sample examined by my friend IMaisch, had 
been made from iodine containing a small portion of chlorine. This is a very 
common admixture, and very fnw samples of iodine will be found, which, 
when water is poured on, do not at once give a brownish solution, owing to 
the presence of choride of iodine. 

The change which takes place on exposing Liquor Ferri lodidi to the air 
is owing to the action of atmospheric oxygen on the protoxide in solution, 
precipitating a basic hydro iodide of the sesqui-oxide of iron, and setting free 
some hydro iodic acid, which in connection with the acid of the solution, partly 
decomposes again some of the sesqui-oxide, forming protoiodide and free 
iodine. When this brown liquor is heated in a porcelain dish, its color be- 
comes lighter in the measure as the free acid decomposes the sesquioxide, and 


the iodine is dissipated. It turns colorless if hjdriodic acid or iodine be added 
while boiling. // may he evaporated to dryness in a salt bath, allowing a 
slight excess of iodine to he present during the whole of the evaporation, and 
it will again be perfectly soluble in water, yielding a green precipitate with 
potassa. During the heating most if not all the cane sugar of the solution is 
converted into glucose. A similar reaction takes place when the stoppered 
bottle containing the brown liquor is exposed to the direct rays of the sun. 
Here the formation of glucose by hydro-iodic acid takes place, though not as 
complete as in the open dish ; but it super-induces the action of the acid on 
the suspended sesqui-oxide, which is thereby completely converted into 
protoxide, its oxygen and the hydrogen of the acid being taken up by the 

That sesquioxide of iron is dissolved by hydriodic acid and converted into 
protoxide by heating the solution, is an old fact, and a number of very delicate 
volumetric methods are founded on this reaction. Any one may repeat the 
experiment with a dark liquor ferri and a small quantity of iodine, tincture of 
iodine, or iodide of potassium. The result will in all cases be a protosalt of iron. 
Acting on this principle the evaporation of the solution in water will be ren- 
dered more simple, and Avill furnish a peifectly soluble salt, if during evapora- 
tion a small excess of iodine be directed to be added. 

But even though the Liquor Ferri loJiJi when heated with iodine may 
have lost none of its original qualities, its permanency is hardly better than 
before. Nor does the presence of bright iron wire in the syrup appear to pre- 
vent the separation of sesqui-oxide. Among the deoxidizing substances within 
our reach, there is, however, one, the chemical and medicinal properties of 
which are by this time well understood, which in analysis is frequently em- 
ployed to act either on iodine or sesqui-oxide of iron, and which, besides, is 
very cheap, — I mean the Hyposulphite of Soda. You will find among the 
preparations submitted to the inspection of the meeting, a bottle labelled, 
" Protoiodide of Iron, without Sugar." It is, or ought to be, a perfectly limpid, 
pale green li([uld, containing the same proportion of iron as the officinal 
liquor, but one-sixteenth more than the amount of iodine. It is prepared as 
follows : 

Take of Iodine, .... two ounces and one drachm. 
Fine Iron Wire, . . si.x drachms. 

Pure water, . . . q. s. 
Hyposulphite of Soda . two drachms. 

Place two ounces of the iodine with five ounces of wafer in a glass flask or 
prescription bottle, add the iron gradually, and shake, unless the mixture 
becomes too warm, until a pale green solution is obtained. This pour off Into 
a tincture-bottle marked at the point indicating twent)' fluid ounces. Add 
the last drachm of iodine and agitate until dissolved. Rinse out the first flask 
with some water, which is added to the iodine solution. Then dissolve the 
hyposulphite of soda in enough cold water, and add it gradually to the solu- 


tion of iron until the latter, under shaking, is discolored. Dilute to twenty 
ounces, and filter in a glass-stopper bottle. If two drachms of hyposulphite 
are insufficient to discolor, it is a proof of its impurity, and more should be 
added until the result is attained. If too much has been added, it will pre- 
cipitate some very finely divided sulphur, which may be re-dissolved by the 
addition of a little iodine. The solution before filtering is best left standing 
over night, when all excess of hyposulphite will have been decomposed by 
the free hydro-iodic acid present. 

The excess of iodine and the hyposulphite of soda are added in equivalent 
proportion, in which they form hydro-iodic acid and tetra-thionate of soda, the 
salt of the acid which does not precipitate the salts of baryta. This soda salt 
is perfectly inert, but insures the permanency of the proto-iodide to a remark- 
able degree. It may be passed through a number of filters without being ox- 
idized. It may be sweetened by substituting syrup for part of the water, which, 
however, does not improve its appearance or permanency. The dose need 
not be reduced from that of the officinal, though containing slightly more 

In addition to the above remarks, the writer will give what appears to him 
much needed in our pharmacopoeia; that is, simple qualitative and quantitative 
tests for iodine and iodide of potassium. 

The presence of water and cyanide of iodine in commercial iodine is found 
by the tests described in the Dispensatory. The presence of chlorine must 
be suspected when the iodine imparts a brown color to water. It is found 
by heating a strong solution of a neutral persulphate of iron, (iron alum) 
free from chlorine, with the iodine until no iodine appears to be dissipated, 
when the solution of iron will give a precipitate with nitrate of silver If chlo- 
rine was present in the iodine. 

We have two very accurate tests for free iodine, founded on the oxidation 
of arsenite of potassa to arseniate, and of hyposulphite of soda to tetra- 

A test solution of arsenite of soda or potassa, for the use of the pharma- 
ceutist, is prepared after the manner directed for Fowler's Solution, using 70 
grains of acid and 140 of bicarbonate of potassa to one quart or two pounds 
(avoirdupois) of test-liquid. The iodine to be examined, say five grains 
accurately weighed, is placed in a porcelain mortar with a little bicarbonate 
of potassa or soda, and a drachm or so of the solution of arsenite from a vial 
previously tared on a balance. A few drops of a solution of starch are then 
added, and rubbed up with the iodine, and then the solution of arsenite 
slowly, and towards the end drop by drop, until the blue color of the starch 
all at once disappears. The difierence in the weight of arsenite of potassa is 
then an accurate measure of the (juantity of pure iodine. One hundred 
grains of the solution are e(|ulvalent to 1.2G1) grains of pure iodine. 

The solution of hyposulphite of soda is prepared by dissolving SoO grains 
of the salt in water, and dilute to one quart or two pounds avoirdupois. The 


iodine, when to be examined by this test, must first be dissolved in iodide of 
potassium, after \\hich the reaction goes on as with arsenite of potassa. One 
hundred grains being equivalent to 1.269 grains of pure iodine. These solu- 
tions are very dilute, and by the comparative largeness of the dose needed for 
small quantities of iodine, a great margin is left. The above solution of 
arsenite serves as a measure for hj pochlorite of soda, chlorine and chloride 
of lime. It is added to a known (jnantity of these substances, until a drop 
of the mixture ceases to produce a blue spot on white paper sized with iodide 
of potassium and starch. 

Regarding the qualitative tests of iodide of potassium treated on in the Dis- 
pensatory, it must be added that the solution of the salt must be dilute when 
tested with sulphuric acid and starch ; for strong solutions disengage the iodine 
at once. The test described for chlorine contained in iodine, is equally as 
well applied to iodide of potassium. The persalt of iron must be perfectly 
free from chlorine. The resulting solution of iron treated with chlorine 
water and ether shows bromine, if present. In Personne's test for bromide, 
the sulphurous acid is advantageously replaced by hyposulphite of soda, 
lodate of j)0tassa is present when, on the addition of pure hydrochloric acid, 
free iodine makes its appearance. 

The quantitative test of Marozeau, as described by Mr. Maisch some years 
ago, is sufficiently accurate for the purposes of the pharmaceutist. The quan- 
tity of iodate in a sample is found by adding some hydrochloric acid and 
determining the quantity of iodine set free by the solution of hyposulphite of 
soda, described above. For each six equivalents, or 7.6 (seven ^^) parts of 
iodine found, put 2.14 parts of iodate of potassa. 



Professor Mapes has advanced a doctrine, worthy of attention — " On the 
progression of primaries in nature." — He suggests the applicability of the law 
to i\Idteria Medica; the subject should therefore be interesting to this Asso- 

Professor ^lapes asserts, that every substance in nature, as it is taken up in 
organic life, undergoes a change, and acquires new properties or functions in 
its relations to other organized substances, which it did not possess in its lower 
state of being ; that for instance, potash from the ashes of plants will be food 
for plints of a higher condition, while potash from feldspar, althou^'h per- 
fectly identical when tested by chemical reagents, is capable of nourishing the 
lowest order only of vegetable life, such as mosses, lichens, etc. 

Similar views are attributed to Professor Joseph Le Conte, who read a pa- 
per bearing on this subject, before the Society for the Advancement of Science, 
— " On the correlation of chemical and physical forces," — which has not yet 
been pubhsheJ. 


Now, may not this law explain the efficacy of cod liver oil — the superiority 
of natural mineral waters, — and serve to reconcile discrepancies in the effi- 
cacy of certain medicines — the hypohosphites, for instance ? 

I have briefly presented this subject as one coming within the scope of our 
investigations and calculated to possess some practical interest. 




As a small contribution to science, I present to the Association the following 
tables on the specific gravity of water at different temperatures, collected 
from various sources, and comprising my own observations on the same 

By way of introduction, I may state that it has been a matter of necessity 
with me to have a table of this kind, in order to graduate my specific gravity 
bottles at any temperature, without the trouble and uncertainty of reducing 
the water to 60° F. artificially, which, in very warm weather, would vitiate 
the results, by the deposit of moisture on the outside of the glass bottle, as 
well as from the rise of temperature during the process of weighing. 

Having examined and compared together several tables by different authors, 
I was struck by the discrepancy between them ; so much so that I thought it 
better to construct a table for myself, particularly as my object was merely to 
ascertain the weight of a 1000-graIn bottle, filled with pure water at different 
temperatures, without taking into consideration the expansion of the glass 

The experiments were made throughout the year, at the varying tempera- 
tures of the season, ranging from 50° to 90°, and comprise a large number of 
observations. These were finally collected together, averaged and arranged. 

In order to compare my experiments with the others, I have corrected the 
results which I obtained, by allowing for the expansion of the glass bottle. 

According to Lavoisier and Laplace, flint glass expands for each degree of 
Fahrenheit 777^^^477 °^ ^^^ length. By the necessary calculation it will be 
found that its cubical dilation will be such that a bottle containing 1000 grains 
of water at 60° F., will contain nearly .013 grains more for each degree above 
that temperature. Therefore, to obtain the true specific gravity of water 
from its weight, as observed in the bottle, it is only necessary to subtract .013 
grains for each degree above 60° F., and to add that quantity for tempera- 
tures below 00°. 

I may also observe that the discrepancies between the tables are much more 
apparent when water is assumed to weigh 1000 at its greatest density (about 
40° F.) than when it is reckoned to weigh 1000 at 60°, as in the annexed 
tables ; in the former case, the variation commencing 20° lower in the 

The tables which I have collected, have all been calculated and reduced to 



the same standard, viz. : -water at 60° F. = 1000. This has occupied con- 
siderable time, from the fact that the original observations are reckoned from 
different points, and with different thermometric scales. 

Thus in Kopp's table of the expansibility of water, the specific gravity of the 
water was first calculated from its observed expansion ; next, the results were 
reduced from Centigrade to Fahrenheit's scale ; and lastly, as Kopp assumes 
water at 32° F. to equal 1000, the results were again reduced, so that water 
at 60° should equal 1000. 

Table No. 1. — Reduced from Kopp's table as above stated. (Vol i. of 
the Cavendish Society's Works.) 

Table Xo. 2. — Trallos' table for every 5°, the intervening degrees being 
interpolated : Water at 40° = 1000. (Ure's Dictionary, Art. Alcohometry.) 

Table No. 3. — Hallstrom's table for every 9° : Water at 39-38° z= 1000. 
(Booth's Cyc. of Chem.) 

Table No. 4. — Despretz's table of the expansibility of water : Water at 
4° C. (39.2° F.) = 1000. (Journal de Chem. et Phys., vol. Ixx., 1837.) 
Contained in a very able and lengthy paper, giving all the details of the 
numerous experiments on the subject. 

Table No. 5. — Hassler's observations, collated and reduced by J. H. 
Alexander: Water at 40° = 1000. (Silliman's Journal, vol xvi., 1853.) 
These experiments were originally published in a congressional document 
(1832) in a report on the comparison of weights and measuks, and are stated 
to have been made on a very large scale. 

Table No. G. — My own observations, corrected for the expansion of the 
glass bottle, as previously remarked. 





















































1000. G3 















. .88 














































































































































































































































































































































To the Members of the American Pharmaceutical Association. 

Grape-juice or must, is a composition of " water, sugar, gum, grape-oil, 
wax, gelatine or pectin, extractive, coloring, and glairy vegetable, albu- 
men, and gluten matters, various acids and salts." Under certain conditions 
it is partly changed by chemical decomposition into new chemical combina- 
tions. The glairy matters at first change by oxidation into " lees," and this 
comes in a peculiar motion-state called " spontaneous decomposition," which 
attacks principally the sugar, dividing it into alcohol, carbonic acid, and other 
elements. After this process (fermentation), which is gone through in the 
course of some weeks, the juice then is called " wine," and consists of " water, 
sugar, alcohol, tartaric, acetic, tannic, phosphoric, carbonic acid, extractive, 
coloring and glairy matters, cenanthic ether, various fragrant compounds, 
cream of tartar and other salts, etc." When the fermentation stops, the most 
part of the cream of tartar, tannic acid combined with albumen, lees, and 
other insulated substances are settled, and the clearness and color takes 
place, which last differs from gold, up to purple, red, and chestnut-brown, 
according to the quantity of coloring matter, acids, and decomposed tannic acid 
(Apothema) the wine contains. 

As soon as the warm temperature sets in again, the wine makes a second 
fermentation, and undergoes, after this, a continually changeable state. By keep- 
ing in oaken vessels, it evaporates mostly water through the pores, and the 
result is an increase of alcohol, tartaric acid, etc., and the precipitation of a 
new part, cream of tartar; besides this, a small portion of tannic acid, quercin, 
etc., is extracted from the wood. At the same time several other slow and 
mild processes happen, causing a separation of a small part of ether from 
alcohol, a combination between acetic acid and ether, and a decomposition 
of the cenanthic ether, tartaric acid, tannic acid, into fragrant compounds, 
and less acid substances. The wine, therefore, will be, till a certain age, very 
high flavored, palatable, and darker in its color ; though by reaching a higher 
age, it loses all this agreeable advantage, because every composed organic 
substance becomes decomposed finally into water, ammonia,, carbonic acid, 
and ash. 

According as the quantity of sugar, carbonic acid, or alcohol predominates, 
the wine will be classified in " dry (sour,) sweet or liquor, and sparkling." 
This depends upon the species of the grape-vines, especially upon the man- 
ner of preparation ; thus, while the dry wine is prepared without any addition 
or artificial help, the liquor-wine, is by artificial concentration of the grape- 
juice, by boiling or addition of sugar and often brandy ; and the sparkling 
wine by addition of liquor (sugar dissolved in brandy), before and after the 



second fermentation in closed bottles, and by keeping tlie developed car- 
bonic acid. 

There is a difference in the taste of the consumers, of course, and there- 
fore it is hard to say which kind of wine may have the preference. Dry 
wine has more flavor than the others, as much as it is more advantageous 
for the sound human organism. Liquor wine contains more alcohol, tastes 
sweet and aromatically at once, and is a very valuable drink for all conva- 
lescents, whose organism needs phosphorous ; then, if prepared by concentra- 
tion, the grape-sugar contains a large quantity of phosphoric acid, (Malaga 
and Tokayer, for instance, contains nearly five per mille,) and can safely be 
kept by all seasons on draught or in bottles Avithout change. The sparkling 
wine is favored by its agreeable refreshing character and stimulating taste. 

Among the improved native grapes, the " Catawba" is considered the best 
for making a dry wine, and is now chiefly cultivated in the West. The 
grape, as well as the soil and climate — all natural circumstances — are fa- 
vorable to the American wine culture, and if it is sometimes poor, it is due 
to preparation and the dishonesty of the wine-growers and the wine-dealers. 

Good wine requires a perfectly ripe grape, a careful grape-galhering, and 
a skilful manipulation through the processes of pressing, fermentation, and 
keeping. The most of the growers do not follow this prescribed method, 
because they want more skill, and a better wine costs a good deal more 
labor and loss, which is not proportionally paid by the consumers. 

It seems to be a greater fault, however, in the existence of cheating and 
adulterating of the product, actions which are done everywhere and to 
everything in our country, as Mr. C. B. Gurthrie has shown in his report 
on home adulterations, published in the Proceedings of your honorable 
Society of 1858, page 58. 

We have analyzed many samples of Catawba wine, from every vintage 
for ten years, and find that a pure and good kind must have, " 8 to 12 per 
cent, alcohol, 1.5 to 3.5 percent, extract, (what is left by evaporation) 0.15 to 
0.25 per cent, ash, and 0.5 to 1.0 per cent, acids." If the constituents are 
found outside of this analytical line, the wine is either poorly prepared, or 
not pure. 

In regard to the above extravagances, there is nothing astonishing, when 
laughter meets any body who feels an enthusiasm about the Catawba wine; 
however, it should not be overlooked that the wine adulteration, or artificial 
wine-making, also exists in Europe very extensively, and it would be more 
profitable to open the eyes a little more when looking across the ocean. 

It is known that the annual average wine crop in Europe is about 1500 
millions of gallons, and, nothwithstanding, this quantity is not large enough to 
satisfy the general European wine thirst ; but, in the greatest failure of the 
wine crop there is no scarcity at ail ; for the skill " to juggle a cheap Hungary 
red wine into a dear French Bordeaux, or a very inferior wine into a very good 


one, and to multiply the quantity," has already found its home at France, and is 
confirmed by scientific journals. Germany, with its " wine improvements, or 
artificial wines, from Dr. Gall and Dr. Leiichs, is a worthy neighbor to France ; 
Spain and Portugal are unable to find all the brandy they use in the preparation 
of wine, and England raises all species of European grapes in form of apples, 
potatoes, prunes, turnips, &c." — and there exist almost as many wine as 
beer breweries, which operate jointly, so that the prepared beer may be 
the basis for the celebrated Madeira, Malaga, Sherry, Port wine, &c. Since 
the appearance of the said report of Mr. Guthrie, we do not hesitate to say- 
that pure Sherry wine, used in American Pharmacy as a menstruum, is, 
m America, even so much a rarity as pure Catawba wine in Spain ; and, if it 
is so, every American should feel disposed to use the home product, for this 
purpose solely, in a pure state, instead of an English raisin or beer prepara- 
tion ; the more, as the yield of the coming grape crop will be, in the States 
of Ohio, Kentucky and in Indiana only, over three millions of gallons. 

Pure Sherry wine contains 14 to 17 per cent, alcohol, 0.3 to 0.5 per cent, 
acids, and a certain quantity of sugar ; if it contains no acids and sugar, it is 
artificially made, as every natural wine must contain them. 

The Catawba wine has not only more acids, but also a lower degree of 
alcohol, and it is not possible to increase them in the lyay by which the liquor 
wines are made, namely, by concentrating the grape sugar ; for there is 
against this — (a,) the high cost in making, and (b,) the large quantity of acid 
which always impairs the wine. The Catawba grape produces more acid than 
any other kind of grape known, and Berard has shown that, in ripening of 
grapes, and other fruits, no acid is changed into sugar, and the acid is only 
lessened, on a small scale, by neutralization of the inorganic components, 
which are produced at the same time. 

All the acids, except the tannic acids which exist in the grape skins, and 
acetic acid, which is developed only during the fermentation, and the 
acid salts are existing in the juice itself, so that, by a slight pressure of the 
grapes to obtain the juice, the quantity of acid is always so large that it does 
not suit the purpose. 

In order to reach the purpose, however, there must be made an addition of 
about a third of sugar water to the juice, of the same consistence as the grape 
juice itself, and, after fermentation, a necessary quantity of Catawba brandy. 
Only natural constituents are here added, for water and alcohol are through- 
out the same, and the Catawba brandy contains the volatile components from 
the Catawba wine, as we have shown in a communication on the same subject. 
The quantity of acid is reduced, and a certain part of cream of tartar 
precipitated. The glairy matters are perfectly sufficient to decompose the 
sugar, and there will be found always a " bouquet " which at least compares 
to that from every kind of wine artificially made. 

This question was considered in an able report by Fred. Stearns, published 


in the last year's Proceedings, page 379. It is very important as a substitute, 
of a foreign by a native product, as a menstruum, entirely equal in its chemi- 
cal components ; also to the American wine culture, because pure and new 
Catawba wine has too much acid, and wants, therefore, age to lose it, before 
it is fit as a worthy and healthy beverage. 

By the said manner of preparing (excluding the addition of brandy), we 
have a cheap, good and drinkable wine. The Catawba wine generally may 
be highly recommended. 



By an invitation of the Maryland Pharmaceutical Association, Mr. John 
Zimmerman, of our firm, read, at one of their meetings in April last, a paper 
upon the various methods used in the manufacture of Catawba brandy. This 
paper was published in the June number of the " Maryland Pharmaceutical 
Journal," the " Peninsular and Independent," the "American Journal of Phar- 
macy," the " Druggist's Circular," &c. 

In the first named paper it was accompanied with the following editorial 
remarks : — 

" For our own part, we think it matters very little whether the alcohol in 
brandy is derived from the fermentation of grape juice, grain, or sugar, so that 
it is properly purified before being colored and flavored. We do not feel dis- 
posed to enter into a discussion of this question, but we must say that we differ 
in opinion with ]\Ir. Zimmerman, when he says that the great ' medical value 
of old grape brandy ' (in the paper it ought to be read ' new,' instead of ' old,' 
said error is corrected in the New York ' Druggist's Circular' of July, page 
157, by J. Y.) 'consists in the Eenanthic ether, which it contains.' We will, 
however, be open to conviction, when more light is thrown upon the subject." 

In consequence of this and other remarks advanced in opposition to our 
views, we feel constrained to address to your Honorable body the following 
conununication : — 

The various kinds of brandy are generally distinguished by so-called "fusel- 
oils," compounds of nauseous smell, consisting of ethereal oil, sebacic acid, and 
various kinds of alcohol, which are mostly developed by fermentation, during 
the production of lees, and the peculiar smell and taste which they impart to 
the distillates, differs with the material used by their production. 

Wine-fusel oil is obtained by distilling wine, lees, and grape marc, (mate- 
rials already by J. Z. explained) and consists mostly of aenanthic acid and 
ffinanthic ether, while, for Instance, corn-fusel-oil has still a third ingredient, a 
thick oily matter, called " corn oil," or oleuni silicium, and the principal com- 
ponent part of potato-fusel-oil is " amyle alcohol." 


The effect of all fusel oils upon the human organism is as injurious as their 
smell is bad ; this can be said with special reference to aniyle alcoliol, which 
is very nauseous, and provokes cougliing. They are, nevertheless, of incal- 
culable value to practical chemists, and for liquors, because the chemist fre- 
quently use them to prepare birch, apple, wine, cognac, oils, &c., and the wine- 
fusel-oii, mixed with alcohol, does not only give to the wine its peculiar smell 
and taste, but also produces the most prominent, high flavored, combinations 
in wine, usually called its flavor, (boutjuet) which is formed by sebacic ethers 
and some species of sebacic alcohol, as, for instance, butyric, capronic, caprinic 
ether, and amyle, propryle alcohol, & •., and thus sebacic acids are especially 
produced by the chemical decomposition of " isnanthic acid." 

Mulder, in his " Chemistry of Wine,"' (edited by H. Bence Jones, London, 
1857, pronounced as the latest issue in this line of science, which can be highly 
recommended,) has given sufficient information as to the nature and origin of 
vinous smell, common to all wines, and the flavor peculiar to each wine. 
He has shown that the fragrant volatile alkali in combination with a volatile 
acid, to form the tlavor of the wine, mentioned by AVinkler, and endorsed by 
INIr. E. S. Wayne, does not exist in wine at all. This circumstance explains 
the fact why young and ill-flavored wine, fsuch, for example, can be fre- 
quently found on the river Rhine, called " Boekser,"^ in which ajuanthic 
ether predominates, and which, if drank oftener and in larger quantities, pro- 
duces nausea and headache ; after a lapse of years, however, it becomes fra- 
grant and healthy, just as well as wine-brandy advanced in value with its 
age. The reason therefore is, why wine-brandy is more pleasant and prefer- 
able to all alcoholic distillates, that it contains fragrant combinations of ethers, 
by which its price and medical value is measured. 

This couibination of ethers, however, can only originate by the presence of 
certain substances in wine, as, for example, tartaric acid, and tliey receive still 
more prominence and strength when the slow disappearance of the jenanthic 
ether takes place. 

Wine-brandy consists of water, alcohol, acetic acid, (which changes in a 
course of time in acetic ether) fusel oil, (but only up to a certain age) and 
fragrant compounds; all other substances found in it have been either acci- 
dentally or designedly added. Among these often will be found burnt sugar, 
and, when kept in oaken vessels, a small quantity of tannic acid, quercin; &c., 
is extracted. 

In reference to the various methods to manufacture Catawba brandy, we 
refer to the remarks made by our John Zimmermann, published in the above 
named Journals. 

Mr. E. S. Wayne in his views on Catawba brandy, published in the July 
number of the Cincinnati Druggist, page 59, in substance says : — 

" That Catawba brandy, from grape marc, distilled with or without fermented 
sugar, is an entirely diSerent product from brandy made of wine." 


It is wtll known that in France inferior kinds of wine are only used to 
manufacture the best qualities of brandy, (cognac) as there is always a better 
market for good wines than there is for the distilled product. 

Mr. Wayne maintains that brandy which is pharmaceutically or medicinally 
used should be a spirit derived only from natural ivine, and all others — for 
example : distilled from grape marc, lees, both single or mixed together, with 
or without additions of alcohol or fermented sugar, to replace, direct or indi- 
rect, the alcohol lost by taking away with the grape juice, for other purposes — 
he classifies to the alcoholic liquids flavored, low priced or mixing brandies, 
unfit for medicinal use. 

Mr. Abel Petiot, of Chamirey in Burgunot, (France) states, in a published 
report, that in two years an importation of alcohol of twenty-four millions of 
francs, (alcohol derived from potatoes is, from the German states', largely 
exported into France) was the cause of the grape crop failure in 1855 and 
1856, when partly used only to manufacture brandies; airue wine brandy, for 
pharmaceutical and medicinal use, must be a rarety, even in France. 

By a mixture of loater, sugar, Ices, grape marc, and inferior kinds of ivine, 
in a certain proportion, an inferior wine is obtained, after fermentation, fully 
identical with a natural loine, and in consequence thereof the distillate from 
both is, in its chemical character, perfectly alike. 

To the above assertion, which is fully confirmed, we refer to the August 
number (1857) of the " Bulletin de la societie d'Encouragement," page 559, 
and to " Quigler's Polytechnic Journal," for 1858, vol. 147, page 61, 

However, the grape marc and lees, subjected to distillation, have no other 
source from which to generate alcohol, except from the natural tvine, which 
still remains in them, and though it must be conceded that, by this process, 
more of the fusel oil is gained ; and that, especially, brandy made of grape 
marc only, when neAv, is remarkable for its exceedingly sharp smell and taste, 
but it ought, nevertheless, not to be overlooked that, whatever there is in it, 
too much of the fusel oil can be removed by repeated distillation, that this fusel 
oil is chiefly the original cause of the favor, and that its rank and sharpness 
disappears by age. 

In the chemical character of such brandy there is no essential difference, 
and a difference in value only, If there is any, as far as there is a difference in 
the skill of the distiller, and in the age. 

It is, therefore, nothing to oppose to the suggestion of Mr. Fred. Stearns 
to use the Catawba brandy as a menstruum in Pharmacy. 

The truth can be practically ascertained by comparing hot punch, or soda 
■water in which plain syrup will be mixed, with the brandies. 

The fault, however, is, that well prepared and old Catawba brandy is very 
scarce. To this Mr. "Wayne has called attention as early as 1855, and latety 
again in the " Druggist." 

To detect an imitation of the Catawba brandy made from rectified whiskey, 
we recommend L. Molnar's reagent. 



Genuine Catawba brandy must be fiery, and have the smell of tlie Catawba 
•wine; if mixed with clear water it must be retained clear ; and if evaporated 
nothing has to remain, except, perhaps, some sugar, and the extracted sub- 
stances of oak wood; newly distilled, it is colorless, and can thus be kept in 
glass ; if kept in oakwook, the tannic acid, which is extracted, is chemically 
transformed into apothema, which colors it yellowish ; artificially it is colored 
■with burnt sugar. 



The following analysis, by Prof. Campbell Morfit, may possess some in- 
terest. The appearance of the American product is very handsome, per- 
haps quite equal to that of Price's ; and its density is the same. Its price is 
less than half. It retains a very slight unpleasant odor, but not sullicient to 
prevent its use in liniments or ointments, where the smell is not important. 

50 to 60 Cts. per lb. 



PROCTER & gamble's 




Ciuciunati, Ohio. 


Neutral to Test-paper, but ' 

Acid to Test-paper, but 

slightly odorous. 

nearly inodorous. 






Per cent. 

Per pound. 

Per cent. 

Per pound. 











Glycerine, absolute, 





Chlorid Calcium, . 



Total inor- 

Chlorid Magnesium, 



ganic mat- 

Chlorid Sodium, 



ters, .006. 


Chlorid Potassium, . 



Sulphate Zinc, 



Carbonate Ammonia, . j 



Butvrate, Caporate, and 

Valerate of Lime, with 

a peculiar volatile or- 

ganic matter. 






The accompanj'ing engraving represents a new Drug Mill, from the Messrs. 
Tllden, of New Lebanon, N. Y. 

The advantages claimed for it are, that it can be easily available to any 
Pharmaceutist for powdering small quantities of drugs, economises labor, and 
is not expensive in cost. 

It is also well adapted to be used in mills where steam or water power is 

It consists of a hollow spherical chamber, attached by its rod to gearing 
wliich gives it a rotary motion. 

The balls, or " chasers," (shown in the engraving upon the frame work) are 
placed in the hollow chamber, together with any article which it is desired to 
powder, and, by the rotary motion imparted to the machine, the required state 
of comminution is easily arrived at. 

It is said to answer very well for Pharmaceutist's use. 




[ContiDued from p. 30] 

U. S. Patent Office, July 2Jth, 1859. 
Sir: — Agreeably to the request contained in your comnuinication to the 
Honorable Paul Leidy on the IGih of January last, herewith I inclose a paper 
from ]\Ir. D. J. Browne, on the introduction of the tree producing the Peru- 
vian bark. 

In accordance with your suggestion and the information embraced in the 
paper mentioned above, please to procure a sufficient (juantity for experiment 
of the capsules containing the seeds of each of the three varieties of the Peru- 
vian bark tree, the " Pale," the " Yellow," and the " Red," and cuttings of 
the same, put up in the manner indicated in the accoaipanying comnuinica- 
tion, * « * * ship the same to New York, forward duplicate bills of lading 
by mail, and draw on this Office for the cost. 
I have the honor to be 

Your obedient servant, 

Wm. D. Bishop, Commissioner. 
Hon. C. R. Buckalew, Minister Resident, Quito, Ecuador. 

U. S. Patent Office, July 2.5, 1859. 
Sir : — In a communication addressed to the Honoral)le Paul Leidy of the 
House of Representatives, Soth Congress, by His Excellency C. R. Buckalew, 
IMinister Resident near Ecuador, and referred to this Office, I am requested 
to act in concert with the last named gentleman, to take the necessary steps 
towards the introduction of the tree producing the Peruvian bark of com- 
merce. The vast importance attached to the use of this material and its pre- 
parations as a febrifuge in all parts of the country where intermittents pre- 
vail, seems to be a sufficient inducement to attempt its naturalization in our 
soil, and, if successful, to extend its culture to such parts of our territory as 
would yield it in abundance, and at the same time, be profitable to the pro- 
ducer. From the apparent hardiness of this tree, thriving as it does in the 
mountains near Loxa, in Ecuador, at elevations 6000 to 8000 feet above the 
level of the sea, there can be but little doubt of its adaptation to the climate 
of some parts of California, and even in favored localities, to that of the South- 
ern States. Additional reasons might be given for its introduction, from the 
circumstances that this substance is becoming scarcer every year, even threat- 
ening an extinction of the tree itself; is subject to mercenary adulterations 
and annually draws large sums from the country for its importation, the 
amount paid during the fiscal year, ending June 30, 1858, for quinine, quilla 
and Peruvian bark being $813,184. 


Besides, an infusion of the green bark, according to Dr. Yon Tsehudi, as a 
remedy against intermittent fever, is much more efficacious than when dry, as 
less than half the usual dose produces, in a short time, convalescence, and the 
patients are secure against return of febrile attacks. If cultivated in this coun- 
try, the bark, in its green state, would be more efficient in its effects than the 
adulterated article which we are so often under the necessity of employing. 

Cinchona bark appears to have been long known as a medicine in Peru ; 
but we have no satisfactory account at what period, nor by what means, the 
febrifugal virtues of this valuable remedy were first discovered. Some say, 
a patient had been cured of an intermittent fever by having drunk the 
waters of a lake which had acquired a bitter taste from Cinchona trees which 
had lain in them ; others, that a lion had cured himself of the ague by instinc- 
tively chewing this bark, and thus directing the attention of the Indians to 
this tree. " That animals," observes Humboldt, in his Dissertation on the 
Cinchona Forests of South America, " have taught men, is a very common 
form of the traditions of nations. Tiie valuable antidote Bij'uco del Guaco, a 
plant descrided by jNIutls, which is related to the Mikania, and has been erro- 
neously confounded with the Ayapana, of Brazil, is also said to have attracted 
the notice of the Indians, as is affirmed by the Falco Serpentarius, by the Falco 
Guaco, of New Grenada, fighting with serpents. However, that the great 
American lion, without mane, (Felix concolor,) should be subject to the ague, 
is just as bold an hypothesis as the assertion of the inhabitants of the pestilen- 
tial valley, Guella Camba, (near the town of Quito,) that even the vultures, 
(Vultur aura.) in their neighborhood, were subject to that disorder. The 
story, so often copied, respecting the Countess Chinchon, Yice-Queen of 
Peru, is probably still more doubtful than it is generally supposed to be. 
There certainly was a Count Chinchon, Don Geronimo Fernandez de Cab- 
rera Bobadella y Mendoza, who was Viceroy of Lima, from 1G29 to 1G39. It 
is very probable that his wife, after her return to Spain, in 1G40, was the first 
who introduced the Cinchona bark into Europe. In Loxa, an old tradition is 
current, that the Jesuits, at the felling of the wood, had distinguished, accord- 
ing to the custom of the country, the different kinds of trees by chewing their 
barks, and that on such occasions they had taken notice of the considerable 
bitterness of the Cinchona. There being always medical practitioners among 
the missionaries, it is said they had tried an infusion of the Cinchona in the 
tertian ague, a complaint which is very common in that part of the country." 

Although several species of the genus to which this tree belongs afford the 
quinine and Peruvian bark of the shops, only three are admitted into the 
Pharmacopoeias, namely, the " Pale-barked," (Cinchona lanci/alia.) the " Yel- 
low-barked," (CincJinnn rnrdifulia,) and the" Red-barked," (Cinchona ohlongi- 
folia.) The former is described by Humboldt under the name of Cinchona 
condaminea as a handsome evergreen tree, 30 to 40 feet in height, and stand- 
ing generally single, and exuding, wherever it is wounded, a yellow, astringent 


juii-e. The trunk is about 18 feet in height, and fifteen inches in diameter, 
erect, with a cracked, ash-colored bark. The branches are round, in opposite 
pairs, erect, brachiated, witli the younger ones obscurely quadrangular at 
the sides. The leaves are of a light green, shining, ovate-lanceolate, about 
three inches long, petiolate, with a little pit in the axilljc of the nerves, or the 
under surface, which is filled with an astringent, aqueous fluid, and having 
the orifice shut with minute hairs; they stand on short foot-stalks, one-sixth 
of their length, flat above and convex below ; but the form of the leaf varies 
extremely, so that no specific distinction can be derived from their figure 
alone. The stipules are two, acute, sericeous, contiguous, and caducous. 
The panicles are terminal, branched, leafy, and trichotomous. The flowers 
are of a pale rose-color, furnished with little bracteas, and are produced in 
terminal, brachiated, leafy, trichotomous panicles, supported on round pedun- 
cles and pedicles, which are powdered and silky. The calyx is bell-shaped, 
globular, five-toothed, powdered, and silky, like the peduncles, with the teeth 
ovate, acute, very short and contiguous. The corolla is somewhat salver- 
shaped, longer than the calyx, with the tube obscurely five-angled, silky, fre- 
quently of a rose-color; thfe limb wheel-shaped, with linear-lanceolate seg- 
ments, much shorter than the tube, white and woolly above. The anthers are 
twice the length of the free portion of the filaments. The germen is globular, 
with an erect style and bifid stigma. The capsule is ovate, woody, striated 
longitudinally, crowned with calycinal teeth, two-celled, many-seeded, oppo- 
sitely twice furrowed, and opening from the base to the apex, with two valves. 
Cinchona bark is stripped from the trunk and branches in the dry season 
from September to November. It is dried by exposure to the sun, and after 
being imported into Europe and this country is sorted for sale. It is usually 
transported in chests, each of which contains from 100 to 200 pounds, mixed 
■with dust and other impurities. The basis of all the species is woody fibre, 
combined with which are various principles capable of being extracted by 
different solvents. The taste of all is more or less astringent and bitter. 
Boiling water extracts all their active principles, affording a solution of a 
pale brown color, which Is transparent when h(5t, but on cooling becomes tur- 
bid, and a precipitate Is deposited that is soluble in alcohol. By long boiling 
the virtues of the bark are nearly destroyed, owing to the chemical change 
and precipitation of its active matter. From the experiments of Vauquelin, 
Faqroni, and others, it appears that these principles are resin, extractive, glu- 
ten, a small portion of volatile oil, and tannin. Vauquelin discovered In some 
varieties of the bark the presence of a peculiar substance to which he gave 
the name oi Kinic acid. 

The following are the most important results which have been obtained by 
MM. Pelletier and Caventon, respecting the composition of the three offici- 
nal species. 

1. In pale hark they found acidulous kinate of cinchonlne, a green, fatty 


matter, -which they term " red cinchonine," tannin, a yellow coloring matter, 
kinate of lime, gum, starch, and woody fibre. 

2. In yellow hark; they found that the alkaline base differs from cinchonine, 
in being uncrystallizable, very soluble in ether, and forming salts with the 
acids different from tliose formed by cinchonine. The chemical constituents 
o{ yellow are an acidulous kinate of this salt, which they have named " quin- 
ine," a deep yellow, fatty matter, red cinchonine, tannin, yellow coloring 
matter, kinate of lime, starch, and woody fibre. 

3. Red hark contains acidulous kinate of cinchonine, kinate of quinine, red- 
dish fatty matter, red cinchonine, tannin, kinate of lime, yellow coloring mat- 
ter, starch, and woody fibre. The difference between the pale, the yellow, 
and the red barks, depends principally on the quantity of the two alkaline 
bodies, cinchonine and quinine, found in them. The pale bark contains cin- 
chonine, but a very small proportion of quinine ; the alkali, again, which pre- 
dominates in the yellow bark, is quinine, while in the red bark, and some spu- 
rious kinds, there is a combination of both these substances. 

A separation of the cinchonine from the pale variety, and of the quinine 
from the yellow, is a simple operation. It consists in digesting the bark, 
coarsely powdered in weak sulphuric acid, and then repeating the digestion 
with about half the quantity of this liquid, till all the soluble matter is extract- 
ed. To this decoction a small quantity of air-slacked lime is added, somewhat 
greater than is necessary to saturate the acid. The precipitate that ensues (a 
mixture of cinchonine and sulphate of lime) is collected, dried, and boiled for 
a few minutes in alcohol, which takes up the cinchonine, but Avill not dissolve 
the sulphate of lime. The solution is decanted off while still hot, and fresh 
portions successively added for the repetition of the operation, until it ceases 
to act on the residuum, which is then merely sulphate of lime. The dilTerent 
alcoholic solutions are then put into a retort, and considerably evaporated, 
during which, and on cooling, acidular crystals of cinchonine are deposited. 
By repeating the solution once or twice in boiling alcohol, and again crystal- 
lizing, the cinchonine will be obtained in a perfectly pure state, when it has 
an intensely bitter taste, and exerts the same action on the animal economy as 
the bark itself; but it is less generally used in medicine than quinine, the 
other active principle of the bark, because the yellow variety from which it is 
procured is more plentiful. Hence quinine is cheaper than cinchonine, and 
equally efficacious. Quinine may be obtained from the yellow bark in the 
same manner as cinchonine is prepared from the pale ; or by adding an alkali 
to a solution of the sulphate of quinine. It is not crystallizable, like cinchonine, 
but on the application of heat melts into a kind of paste. It has a much more 
bitter taste, and is sparingly soluble in water. 

I have been thus particular in describing the properties of the three princi- 
pal species of the Peruvian bark, in order that the cuttings and seeds of the best 
.may be obtained for experiment. Being a re-productive tree, it is probable 


that the most expeditious mode of testing its adaptation to our soil and cli- 
mate would be from cuttings taken from near the extremities of healthy 
branches, each a foot or more in length, and containing at least three eyes or 
buds. They should be severed from the tree in December and immediately 
packed closely, on the spot, where they grow in layers of earth sufficiently 
moist and friable for ordinary cultivation, in tin cases, and hermetically 
soldered or sealed. These cases, again, should be packed in wooden boxes, 
properly numbered or labelled, and forwarded with every possible dispatch to 
New York, where they should arrive as early as March, so that the cuttings 
may be started in a propagating house, preparatory to removing them to 
the sites where the experiments are finally to be made. 

The seeds should be collected at the period of maturity from healthy trees, 
retained in their capsules, and well dried in the shade without the application 
of artificial heat. They should then be put up in paper or muslin bags, num- 
bered or labelled, securely packed in boxes, but not hermetically, and kept in 
a dry condition during their passage to the United States. 

In ordering from Ecuador a limited quantity of the cuttings and seeds of 
these trees, directing them to be packed and forwarded as above, I think there 
will be scarcely a doubt that the problem of producing this important material 
in this country can be thoroughly proved. 

I have the honor to be your obedient servant, 

D. Jay Browne. 
Hon. "Wm. D. Bishop, Commissioner of Patents. 

Sept. 10, 1859. 


Department of the Interi